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
Close this folder3. What are drug bulletins?
View the document3.1 Definition
View the document3.2 The history of drug bulletins
View the document3.3 What makes an ‘independent’ drug bulletin independent?
View the document3.4 Types of editorial content
View the document3.5 Styles of communicating information
View the document3.6 The institutional base
View the document3.7 References
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

3.4 Types of editorial content

Many bulletins publish articles with information on individual drugs or classes of drugs. This may include an overview of benefits and harms of drugs and the conditions for their appropriate use, and information on how new drugs compare with existing treatment options. The focus of a bulletin article may also be on how best to manage a medical problem. Many bulletins try to include a balance between articles that focus primarily on specific drugs and others that focus primarily on treatment of specific diseases or problems. The emphasis of a bulletin’s content often reflects the target audience: for example, bulletins distributed mainly to pharmacists tend to be more drug-oriented, those mainly for doctors often focus on treatment of a specific disease or health condition. Some, which have a mixed audience, are actively promoting good collaboration among health professionals in the best interest of patients.

In many countries, up-to-date information on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is especially hard to get and health professionals are largely unaware of what types of harm to watch out for or how to report suspected adverse effects. Some bulletins, such as Spain’s Butlleti Groc [] and Prescriber Update from New Zealand [], focus entirely on ADRs and are produced by organizations concerned with pharmacovigilance. The aim is to get the information on ADRs collected by a pharmacovigilance centre back out to doctors and pharmacists, and to stimulate more awareness of the need to report ADRs.

Another specialised type of bulletin deals with clinical toxicology and the management of poisoning. The National Poisons Centre in Malaysia publishes two bulletins (PRN8099 in English and PanawaRacun in Malay) with information on avoidance and treatment of poisoning, as well as on the use of medicines [].

Several bulletins focus on national and international drug policies, highlighting problems in the way medicines are provided, marketed and regulated, and discussing strategies for improvement. Their focus may be on a broad range of drug policies or a specific policy issue. For example, The Network’s Drug Bulletin in Pakistan also covers news items on international measures to ban or withdraw unsafe drugs [].

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