Traditionally the health research agenda has been largely determined by the pharmaceutical industry and researchers themselves [7].  This has usually been with minimal input from patients and their carers, or patients, carers and clinicians combined.  The JLA exists to address this imbalance by including those who don’t already have a say in research.

The JLA does not invite representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, other commercial businesses, or those in the research community who are not also clinicians, patients or carers to take part in the priority setting process.  These types of representatives might be perceived as having a vested interest in the outcomes of the process.  They also have existing opportunities to influence the research agenda.  It is recognised however that in some health areas, it is important to hear from commercial providers of services to patients and the NHS, e.g. high street pharmacists.  In these cases, PSPs have worked with members of such organisations as part of the Steering Group but they have not taken part in priority setting.  It is important that PSPs are transparent about these relationships in their PSP Protocol and Terms of Reference.  The funding of JLA PSPs should not come directly from sources that may have a commercial interest in the outcomes.

Researchers may sit on the Steering Group if the group feels this is appropriate.  Their experience is often useful when thinking about working with funders and other researchers to develop the final priorities into research questions.  The JLA Adviser will ensure that they do not have an undue influence on the outcome.  Researchers who are currently clinically active may participate in the priority setting if they declare their interests.

[7] Tallon, D et al. (2000) ‘Relation between agendas of the research community and the research consumer’. The Lancet, volume 355:2037–40