Intended for healthcare professionals


Alessandro Liberati

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 16 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1101
  1. Nicola Magrini,
  2. Richard Smith
  1. Correspondence to: R Smith richardswsmith{at}

Campaigned for high quality evidence relevant to patients

With his splendid name, fiery red hair, utter disdain for Silvio Berlusconi, and passion for Internazionale (the left wing team for those who don’t know soccer), Alessandro Liberati had the look and feel of an Italian revolutionary. But he was a gentle and convivial revolutionary, regularly hosting the “libertrophy,” a weekend party of fun and games at his family home in Tuscany. At his funeral in the packed Romanesque Basilica of Santo Stefano in Bologna, his daughter Valeria read his last letter, in which he hoped that there would be a special libertrophy “characterised by high spirits and by the desire to be together.”

Butterfly behaviour

Alessandro’s revolutionary fervour had clear aims: improving the quality of evidence available to patients and their clinicians; ensuring, as he wrote in the BMJ in 2004, that “research results should be easily accessible to people who need to make decisions about their own health” (BMJ 2004;328:531, doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7438.531); and trying to encourage researchers to concentrate on research that mattered to patients not to their careers or to drug companies. “How far can we tolerate,” he wrote, “the butterfly behaviour of researchers, moving onto the next flower well …

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