Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Close this folder6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
View the document6.1 Why is planning necessary?
View the document6.2 Start modestly and grow gradually
View the document6.3 Develop a framework for producing articles
View the document6.4 Flexible planning for each issue
View the document6.5 Allow time for delays in distribution
View the document6.6 Integrate necessary sidelines into your overall planning
View the document6.7 A few principles for planning the production of a bulletin
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

6.2 Start modestly and grow gradually

It is very tempting to cover too many aspects of drugs and therapeutics when starting a bulletin, especially if few alternative sources of information exist locally. For example, editors may wish to produce new drug assessments, alerts about adverse effects, guidelines or reviews of treatment options for specific health conditions. They may also wish to train their readers in pharmacoepidemiology, drug evaluation and pharmacoeconomics. None of the established drug bulletins began with such a wide scope, and many have chosen to limit their focus, even after years of experience. Each type of article or bulletin section requires specific skills and documentation. Too much diversification may stretch limited resources too far.

Producing good quality articles is also a long and time-consuming process involving a number of steps, including commissioning the article, outlining the topic, collection and analysis of references, writing and checking the first draft before circulation to reviewers, sending the article out for review, rewriting, verifying accuracy, and copy editing. Then come the steps of design, production, printing and dissemination. Time is also needed for ongoing editorial, administrative and financial planning, and fundraising or subscriptions management to keep the bulletin afloat.

Start with a few clear objectives, produce a few useful articles adapted to local needs, and then develop the bulletin very gradually as your resources grow. It is better to produce a quarterly bulletin regularly than a monthly bulletin that is always late. For the same reason, it is better to start, for instance, with a 4-page bulletin than with 8 or more pages. Readers appreciate a regular publication that they can include in their own training schedule. This is true whether or not they pay for the bulletin themselves.

Many established bulletins started by reprinting articles from other independent drug bulletins (after getting their permission). A commentary could be added to make such an article relevant locally.

Case study: Folia Pharmacotherapeutica, Belgium

Folia Pharmacotherapeutica is a monthly bulletin. The resources of the bulletin are not sufficient to be able to publish only original articles in each issue. So, the bulletin regularly includes interpretations of interesting papers, which are found by scanning the literature, and sometimes original articles are prepared for publication in the bulletin.

Contributed by Marc Bogaert, Folia Pharmacotherapeutica, Belgium

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