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About Bandolier and us

Bandolier team
Bandolier activities
Who pays
Bandolier sponsors

What is Bandolier?

The first issue of Bandolier, an independent journal about evidence-based healthcare, written by Oxford scientists, (RAM AND HJM) was printed in February 1994. It has appeared monthly ever since and has become the premier source of evidence based healthcare information in the UK and worldwide for both healthcare professionals and consumers.

The award winning electronic version of Bandolier ( now has over one million visitors each month from all over the world. Whilst many visitors are healthcare professionals, Bandolier is also a source of high quality information for many patients and their carers, as well as for organisations that commission and pay for healthcare.

The impetus behind Bandolier was to find information about evidence of effectiveness (or lack of it), and put the results forward as simple bullet points of those things that worked and those that did not: a bandolier with bullets. Information comes from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomised trials, and from high quality observational studies.

Each month PubMed and the Cochrane Library are searched for systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in the recent past.

For other web content (such as the specialist resource areas) we search over all times, and where necessary, do systematic reviews ourselves. Other types of information, like large epidemiological studies, may be included if they shed important light on a topic.

What is Evidence Based Medicine?

EBM is about tools, not about rules. Good evidence is likely to come from good systematic reviews of good clinical trials. For many reasons too much of the medical literature can be misleading, or is just plain wrong. We must be able to distinguish good evidence from bad, and to have accurate, reliable knowledge readily available and readily accessible for all. The contrast between the individual and the population as a whole - unique biology, choice and circumstance, often dictates what happens, and evidence is but one part of a complex question.

The Bandolier team

The Bandolier team is few but varied. Short bios are below. Many other folk have been involved with work in EBM and pain over the years and have give terrific insightful help and perspective.

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore read biochemistry and did a DPhil at Balliol College, Oxford. He then worked in the NHS in the Radcliffe Infirmary as Consultant Biochemist. For eight years he was the managing director of a diagnostics company, before returning to Oxford to edit and write Bandolier among his many other tasks. He has a thirty year background in health care research, from clinical biochemistry through clinical trials to systematic reviews and economic analysis. He is honorary Professor at the School of Health Sciences at University of Wales, Swansea.

Henry McQuay

Henry McQuay is Professor of Pain Relief at the Oxford Pain Relief Unit, Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford. His clinical expertise is in the management of chronic pain, both cancer and non-cancer. His research interests have included bench studies of analgesics, primary clinical trials of analgesic interventions and latterly using systematic review techniques to work out the relative efficacy and safety of analgesics. He is a member of the Council of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

Sheena Derry

Sheena has a degree in Zoology from Oxford, and worked as a research assistant investigating genetic disorders in globin chain synthesis. After a career break to bring up a family, her career turned towards systematic reviews and the use of evidence, first with the MEDLINE enhancement programme, to increase identification of randomised controlled trials, then investigating adverse drug reactions and the trade-off between benefit and harm in drug therapy. She joined the Pain Research Unit in May 2003, and contributes to systematic reviews in pain research and writing for the Bandolier web site.

Maura Moore

Maura worked in the biochemistry laboratories in Oxford, as well as in travel before taking a career break to bring up a family. As well as looking after Bandolier's book-keeping, she keeps tabs on subscriptions, and answers the many emails Bandolier receives.

Bandolier's range of activities

Bandolier Research

Bandolier's scientific home is the Pain Research Group, based in Oxford, where thinking about evidence based matters has taken place since 1992. The group has pioneered work on systematic reviews in pain and anaesthesia, and has helped develop research methods in many other areas (statins, erectile dysfunction, migraine, genital warts and prostatic hyperplasia). The group has produced over 100 systematic reviews including contributions to the Cochrane Library.

Bandolier's internet version started in 1995. Every back issue of the Journal is available, full text and free of charge. The format is kept simple to enable content to be rapidly accessed even over the slowest modem.

The site currently attracts over 50 million visitors a year and contains much more than the printed version. A number of special areas have been created to look at particular topics (migraine, needlestick injuries, gout) where the credible evidence on prevalence, diagnosis and treatment has been pulled together. For those who like to click but hate to scroll an increasing amount of content is presented as PDFs, currently downloaded at about three million a year.

Bandolier Journal

The paper journal was discontinued in 2007, but back copies are available on this website by clicking here.

Bandolier Books

Bandolier has a number of publications, including Bandolier's Little Book of Pain (2003) and Bandolier's Little book of Understanding Medical Evidence (2006) with Oxford University Press. Bandolier also publishes its own series, beginning with Bandolier's Evidence-based resource for Erectile Dysfunction in 2006.

Bandolier Training

Bandolier offers tailor made training about EBM. The audience spread has varied from medical professionals, pharmaceutical prescribing advisors, pharmaceutical company staff, and journalists.

Who pays?

Journal subscriptions

The NHS through its R&D directorate paid for production of the print version until July 2002.

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Independent content free to the users, but not cost-free to the producers.

No agency (NHS R&D or NHSE) has funded the Internet version, except for specific projects. Internet Bandolier is entirely dependent on sponsorship, and the good will of Oxford University Medical School information technology resources.

Our sponsors

In 1999 a decision was taken to divorce the electronic and paper versions of Bandolier because that was the only way we could see to improve the electronic version. With 'no-strings' sponsorship from MSD and the BUPA Foundation, we began to expand the Internet site, so that much material on the web site has not appeared in the print version.

Since some folks criticise sponsorship, and industrial sponsorship in particular, it's worth being clear what no strings means. We only take sponsorship because the sponsoring organisations agree that they have absolutely no control over what Bandolier writes in it's pages. That's one reason why there is relatively little sponsorship, because this is a difficult concept for organisations, industrial and charitable, to get their brains around. So we applaud our sponsors for being far-sighted as well as generous. We would like to have NHS sponsorship, and would love to hear from NHS organisations.

The BUPA Foundation sponsored us for three years. Their vision helped us to get the site reorganised and to begin to create specialist resource centres with additional knowledge from the paper version of Bandolier. Their support has helped us to create the Oxford Pain site, and that on Complementary and Alternative Therapy.

The Gwen Bush Foundation generously helped with a donation towards the Migraine website.

The NHSE has contributing to the development of the Management site, and the NeLH is contributing to developing more information on the glossary, Management and Diagnostics.

MSD have helped with support to create the Oxford Pain site, and to extend that to creating the Migraine site. In 2002 they also supported the creation of the Gout site. This is brave for a pharmaceutical company, because they have no control over what goes on the site, and we absolve them of any responsibility for what we choose to say. In 2006 they made an additional award to updxate the Pain site.

AstraZeneca have been similarly brave in supporting the Atrial fibrillation site, and the Needlestick site, again through an unrestricted educational grant and with no control over what goes on the site. Again, we absolve them of any responsibility for what we choose to say.

Pfizer provided funding in 2002 to enable Bandolier to maintain and expand the Oxford Pain Site.