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
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Close this folder7. The editorial process
View the document7.1 Outline of the editorial process
Open this folder and view contents7.2 Editing a drug bulletin
Open this folder and view contents7.3 Writing bulletin articles
Close this folder7.4 Reviewing the article
View the document7.4.1 How many people should review an article?
View the document7.4.2 Should a bulletin set up a permanent review board?
View the document7.4.3 Should readers be included in the review board?
View the document7.4.4 Should patients or lay people be included?
View the document7.4.5 Should the pharmaceutical industry review drafts?
View the document7.4.6 Tips for reviewing articles
View the document7.4.7 Rewarding reviewers
View the document7.5. Rewriting the article
View the document7.6 Final checks
Open this folder and view contents7.7 Follow-up after publication
View the document7.8 References
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

7.4.5 Should the pharmaceutical industry review drafts?

ISDB bulletins have different policies on this (see Box 7.5). The selection of reviewers, as well as the selection of authors, raises the problem of conflicts of interest. It is easy to ensure that a few authors or a close editorial team have no conflicts of interest. It becomes more difficult with external reviewers especially when their number increases. Some bulletins ask reviewers to inform them in confidence of any conflicts of interest, or anything which may influence or bias their comments (e.g. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin). In some cases known conflicts of interest do not prevent a bulletin from sending a draft to a reviewer. A biased opinion can be helpful. If there are weaknesses in a critical argument or if important information has been left out, a biased reviewer will be quick to notice this and point it out.

Box 7.5 Should the pharmaceutical industry see articles before publication?

Some bulletins send articles to pharmaceutical companies, before publication, preferring to get any legitimate corrections or comments before, rather than after, publication. Other bulletins choose not to, in order to avoid wasting time going back and forth with comments and counter-comments before publication. If articles are well-referenced and care is taken to present correct, unbiased information, complaints after publication are rare. If a company does send a complaint, it can easily be published in the bulletin (or put on its web site) with an editorial comment.

Whether or not an article should be sent to the pharmaceutical industry also depends on the topic. Some bulletins do this when the evidence is scarce or hidden, as on some side effects. The time between review and publication needs to be short to prevent the company from organizing a counter campaign at publication time.

If you choose to ask industry to review drafts, as with other reviewers it is important to remember your primary goals: presenting the evidence in a fair, unbiased manner, and keeping patients’ best interests in mind. New bulletins should also remember that even if you do not send a draft to companies directly, they might get it from an expert who has received the draft for review.

to previous section
to next section
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 6, 2017