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(1995) [French] [Spanish]
ISDB: The International Society of Drug Bulletins
A. Herxheimer and P. Chirac*
The International Society of Drug Bulletins is the subject of the fourth article in our series on organizations concerned with the rational use of drugs. The Society is a global network of independent bulletins and journals on drugs and therapeutics, helping them to work together. These bulletins are produced in different countries, often by small groups. . They face special problems that editors and publishers of other journals do not have, and can feel rather isolated.
The International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB) was founded in 1986, with the support of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It aims to promote the international exchange of information of good quality on drugs and therapeutics, to encourage and to assist the development of professionally independent drug bulletins in all countries and facilitate cooperation among bulletins.
Good quality information is information which is scientifically valid and clarifies current scientific consensus, distinguishing what is established and what is not. It is also information which helps the user to optimise therapy in the best interest of the patient.
Independent bulletins are run by an independent editorial team, and their organizational structure and financial resources can guarantee the team's independence.
One activity of the Society is to organize regional summer schools and training seminars where people working on long established bulletins can share experience with those starting new ones. Such meetings have so far been held in Algeria, Hungary, Italy and Japan. ISDB members also help editors starting up new bulletins to visit them, to gain experience. For example, la revue Prescrire has received visits from colleagues in Algeria, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso and Cameroon; and Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin from the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic and Tanzania. Some bulletins maintain links by having colleagues from other countries on their editorial advisory board.
Other activities include the exchange of information on new drugs, adverse effects of drugs, and drug promotion and regulation. Recent examples include: establishing working relations between ISDB members and the new European Medicines Evaluation Agency; discussions on editorial methods and organization, sources of information and financial support for bulletins; and collective support for bulletins which have difficulties. ISDB tries to ensure that bulletin editors in developing countries regularly receive the major bulletins in the languages they can use. It is also preparing an index of articles published in drug bulletins, to make them more accessible and reduce duplication of work. An internal newsletter helps to keep members and correspondents in touch with one another.
For the next few years the Society's priorities are:
- to help all independent drug bulletins to achieve high professional standards;
- to promote the systematic translation of scientific findings into clinical practice;
- to work together with producers of formularies and with people in drug information centres;
- to encourage bulletins to help health professionals communicate more effectively with consumers.
Countries represented in ISDB
(by one or more members or recognised correspondents)
Algeria Germany Panama
Australia Ghana Peru
Austria Greece Poland
Belgium Hungary Singapore
Bolivia Hong Kong Slovakia
Brazil India South Africa
Cameroon Indonesia Spain
Canada Italy Sri Lanka
Croatia Japan Sweden
Czech Republic Latvia Switzerland
Denmark Malaysia United Kingdom
Estonia Netherlands USA
France New Zealand Zimbabwe
ISDB workshops, summer schools, seminars
June 1991 Reggio Emilia, Italy
April 1992 Algiers, Algeria (in French)
July 1993 Hashioji, near Tokyo, Japan
January 1994 Budapest, Hungary
Bulletins which are published at least four times a year and meet certain criteria of independence can be full members of ISDB. Recognised correspondents are individuals or institutions not publishing such a bulletin, but sharing the aims of ISDB and contributing to the promotion of good quality information on drugs and therapeutics.
For more information about ISDB, please contact: Helen Ridley, Coordinating Secretary, ISDB, 103 Hertford Road, London N2 9BX, UK. (Fax: +44 181 883 2769).
* Andrew Herxheimer is Chair and Pierre Chirac General Secretary, of the International Society of Drug Bulletins.
Russian EDM off the press
The first Russian edition of the Essential Drugs Monitor rolled off the press in April. Dr Ilze Aisilniece, of the Drug Information Centre in Riga and Editor of the new Latvian Drug Bulletin, Cito! is overseeing the Russian edition on behalf of the Action Programme. "It was far more work than I expected" commented Dr Aisilniece as the new edition went out to ministries of health, NGOs, training institutes and others working in the pharmaceutical sector. "But I am convinced that the Russian EDM will make an important and a practical contribution to the critical work of developing drug policies and programmes to meet pharmaceutical needs in the new political and social context."
If you would like to receive the Russian edition of the Essential Drugs Monitor write to the Action Programme on Essential Drugs, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. Multiple copies are available for organizations working in Russian-speaking countries.