Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Let the patient revolution begin

Involving patients in setting the research agenda in drug addiction

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 16 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4513
  1. Marica Ferri, chair1,
  2. Marina Davoli, chair1,
  3. Roberto D’Amico, director2
  1. 1EMCDDA Scientific Committee, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Praça Europa,1 Lisbon, Portugal
  2. 2Italian Cochrane Centre, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, 41124 Modena, Italy
  1. marica.ferri{at}

The involvement of patients and other stakeholders in decision making is crucial in daily medical practice and priority setting for research.1

After the inheritance left by Alessandro Liberati (1954-2012) some members of the Cochrane Collaboration led by the Italian Cochrane Network decided to promote the so called Liberati initiative, aimed at identifying research gaps and informing the research agenda on the basis of the real needs of the patients.2

A pilot study inspired by the methods of the James Lind Alliance has been conducted by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon.3 The agency, in collaboration with the Cochrane review groups on drugs and alcohol, has reviewed the implications for further research included in 39 Cochrane systematic reviews on treatment of drug addiction. The research questions identified in the reviews were then submitted to a group of stakeholders including practitioners, patients, and policy makers to identify priority questions.

The results of this gap analysis will be presented to the Horizontal Drug Group’s annual dialogue on research of the European Commission as a part of a broader exercise on priority setting in research.

Although difficult to achieve, we believe that this can be a model process for further exercises that will help to realign patient oriented research.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4513


  • Competing interests: None declared.