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
Close this folder2. Rational use of medicines
View the document2.1 The relationship between evidence and rational use
View the document2.2 Other influences on the choice of medicines
View the document2.3 Sources of information for prescribers
View the document2.4 The special role of drug bulletins
View the document2.5 Specific ways in which bulletins can help
View the document2.6 Bulletins as part of wider initiatives for promoting rational use of medicines
View the document2.7 Summary
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
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

2.4 The special role of drug bulletins

The policies of drug bulletins mean they can offer advice that differs from that available from other sources. Bulletins are published frequently and so can be up to date. Transparent working and editorial independence, which are key features of drug bulletins, allow them to present impartial and unbiased evaluations and discuss controversial topics which the industry or an official government publication avoids. Bulletins can criticise individual advertising claims, therapeutic recommendations and official licensing decisions.

Being independent allows bulletins to determine their own terms of reference. Most bulletins base their recommendations about treatments on assessments of relative efficacy, relative safety, relative quality, relative cost and relative ease-of-use when compared to other medicines that are already available or, where appropriate, to other types of therapy (e.g. surgery, physiotherapy, psychotherapy).

Bulletin editors understand the full context of their local health care system (laws, customs, politics, practice), and have a practical knowledge of the system’s culture and history. The special skills of the editorial team members enable them to integrate the principles of rational use of medicines with the real world of medical practice. They can clarify and resolve differences in technical, political and commercial pressures, offer advice in the absence of relevant evidence, and so can produce practical conclusions that incorporate epidemiological and socio-economic data on which readers can act with confidence.

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