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The Cochrane Collaboration

Archie Cochrane’s challenging Rock Carling Lecture, Effectiveness and Efficiency (1972) had and continues to have widespread international influence, stimulating critical evaluation of health services worldwide.

Writing later in 1979*, Archie issued this challenge: "It is surely a great criticism of our profession that we have not organised a critical summary, by specialty or subspecialty, adapted periodically, of all relevant randomised controlled trials".

Archie Cochrane’s ideas were developed by Sir Iain Chalmers during his period as MRC Research Fellow and Lecturer in Obstetrics at the Welsh National School of Medicine (now School of Medicine, Cardiff University), Cardiff.

Accepting Cochrane’s challenge he went on to establish the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit and later the UK Cochrane Centre in Oxford in 1992. Eventually the worldwide Cochrane Collaboration was developed in response to Archie Cochrane’s call for the provision of systematic reviews of all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of health care.

*Cochrane A.L. 1931-1971: A critical review, with particular reference to the medical profession. In: Medicines for the Year 2000. London: Office of Health Economics, 1979 1-11.