My compatriot from student days David Kent asks why there are so few letters to The Pharmaceutical Journal at present.
I suspect that the change from weekly to monthly issues has a lot to do with this. When you must wait for four or more weeks to get a response to your letter, there is less incentive to write. As publisher Tony Scully points out, we have lots of ways to interact and discuss things quickly online these days — undreamt of when I left college in 1968.
The last time I wrote to the The Pharmaceutical Journal, in April 2020, the letter appeared online, but not in the printed version. Pharmacists of our vintage are likely to want to see their contribution in print, but we may have to accept that it is less and less likely to be the case. It’s OK for me, as I routinely post scientific things on LinkedIn, where I know a lot of people see, and can respond to, these posts very quickly.
The month’s gap between issues also means that events have often moved on so that what is written is often no longer topical. Writing that we are about to start manufacturing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 in the UK is frankly of little interest when research has already shown that it does no good.
Another small point: in the journal’s piece about COVID-19 pathology, the author mentions various immune modulators, but fails to speak about the possible role of vitamin D in the possible reduction of inflammatory cytokine release. This has been mentioned in medical journals including The Lancet, as well as the national press.
Actually, I think the journal is probably quite right to concentrate on educational and scientific matters. In reality, I suspect that many of these are of more interest to community pharmacists, increasing numbers of whom also work in primary care medical settings — possibly more than my old friend David Kent realises.
Brian Curwain, Lymington, Hampshire