Editing The Pharmaceutical Journal

We, the undersigned, are pressing for the restoration of the post of editor for The Pharmaceutical Journal. We believe that the The Pharmaceutical Journal needs to be refocused and that the recent departure of its publisher presents an ideal opportunity to review the situation.

One of us (Douglas Simpson) addressed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Assembly on this matter on 16 November 2016. However, no indication has been given about any of the Assembly’s decisions. Indeed,
The Pharmaceutical Journal
’s historic role of recording the policy decisions of the Society’s governing bodies seems to have been lost.

The role of ‘publisher’ was created by the RPS when the editor’s post was made redundant. The publisher was given responsibility for the type of content that appears in The Pharmaceutical Journal. This has led to a broad international focus while playing down domestic matters. Indicators for this can be found in the obituary articles, in which the deaths of American academics who were generally unknown in Britain have been given detailed coverage, while the demise of distinguished British pharmacists has been noticed late, if at all.

We understand that the previous publisher was not a pharmacist and that expertise in digital production rather than sector knowledge was a priority when recruiting for the role. There is now an imbalance in the journal, and we urge the Assembly to step in and restore order.

For more than 150 years, from its foundation in 1841, The Pharmaceutical Journal had a series of distinguished editors with journalistic ability and a deep knowledge of pharmacy. The publication once again needs a principled editor chosen on the basis of sector knowledge and journalistic skill to lead its hard-working staff and provide the Society’s members with an appropriate balance of information.

Appointment to this post should be the subject of an open competition.

Douglas Simpson

Former editor of The Pharmaceutical Journal and former editorial director of PJ Publications

John Ferguson

Former secretary and registrar

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

Nicholas Wood

Past president

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

Marshall Davies

Past president

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

John Balmford

Past president

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Robert Timson

Former member of council

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Dilip Joshi


Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Local Pharmaceutical Committee

Jayesh Patel

Chief executive

Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Local Pharmaceutical Committee

Andrew Haynes

Former deputy editor

The Pharmaceutical Journal

Graeme Smith

Former deputy editor and former acting editor

The Pharmaceutical Journal

Peter Lowe

Former secretary, North of Tyne Local Pharmaceutical Committee, and support team volunteer, Pharmacist Support

Disclosure: Douglas Simpson is a freelance journalist whose principal client is the Independent Community Pharmacist magazine. Mr Simpson, Andrew Haynes, John Ferguson and Graeme Smith are pensioners of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). All the co-signatories are Fellows of the RPS.

The appointment of a publisher to The Pharmaceutical Journal is the responsibility of the leadership of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). Your letter was forwarded to the RPS for consideration. We have been informed that you have been invited to a further meeting with the leadership of the Society to discuss the issues you have raised. We trust that the Society will act in the best interests of the journal and the membership as they appoint a successor to the recently departed publisher.
The Pharmaceutical Journal

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, February 2017, Vol 298, No 7898;298(7898):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202301

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