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Setting the research agenda for women and children: the role of Health Technology Assessment
  1. Imti Choonara1,
  2. Tom Kenny2
  1. 1 Academic Division of Child Health, University of Nottingham, Derbyshire Children's Hospital, Derby, UK
  2. 2 National Institute for Health Research, National Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Imti Choonara, imti.choonara{at}

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Research is essential in that it is required to provide the scientific evidence that helps ensure patients receive the appropriate treatment. Evidence based medicine is now recognised as essential for all patients. Historically, both pregnant women and paediatric patients have been neglected by researchers. Clinical trials are more challenging in both of these patient groups. Additionally, the financial rewards for the pharmaceutical industry have been smaller due to the smaller market and need for greater formulations, especially in paediatric patients. Legislation in both the USA and the European Union has given financial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to study medicinal products in paediatric patients. The aim of this article is to discuss how research to benefit women and children can be increased and strengthened.

The NIHR HTA Programme

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) plays a key role in promoting research in the UK. Within the NIHR, the Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme has been in existence for 20 years. Many health professionals unfortunately are confused by the term ‘technology’. A technology is a variety of interventions. It includes medicinal products but also other interventions such as diet, physiotherapy, speech therapy, surgical procedures and medical devices. The NIHR HTA Programme exists in order to compare different technologies. In some cases, this will be a direct comparison of two different technologies. In …

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