When a bulletin becomes well known nationally or internationally, it begins to receive requests for reproduction of its articles. These may come from other bulletins or other periodicals, patients’ associations or organizations for continuing education, in which case they cause little or no difficulty. However, they may also come from the pharmaceutical industry or industry-sponsored institutions. This requires more caution. The editorial team needs to know how a reprint will be used, for example, whether it will be used to promote a drug, or to attack a competitor’s product.
The bulletin needs a clear policy on how to deal with such situations. Some ISDB bulletins have a written policy for reproduction of their articles (e.g. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, UK; la revue Prescrire, France). You need to make sure that the article will not be shortened, or a section reproduced out of context, and that the source will be mentioned. One concern is whether a reprint by a pharmaceutical company gives the impression of a link between this firm and the bulletin. One way used by bulletins to deal with this risk is that the bulletin produces reprints, sells them at cost to the company (i.e. without profit) and puts a stamp on the reprint saying: “Reprinted and sold at cost by [name of the bulletin]”.