As someone who, like Jo, ventured into medical journalism in 1976, but on a rival weekly publication for GPs, I remember attending many press conferences with her. Typically, she would sit near the back and wait until nearly everyone had asked their questions and then say, with characteristic modesty: “I may have missed it, but ….”.
Of course, she hadn’t “missed it”. Far from it – she had noticed a hole in the story which the rest of us had missed, and caused many hapless speakers to scramble for their notes to find an answer. I know that many pharmaceutical executives came to dread the ‘Jo Lumb’ question.
Jo had a superb understanding of her readers and, at those same press conferences, she would tease out “the pharmacy angle” from any story – posing questions guaranteed to deliver answers of interest to pharmacists. After she began working as a freelancer, Jo remained an avid reader of The Pharmaceutical Journal, always up-to-date with issues affecting pharmacists.
In recent years, when being treated for myeloma (she hated terms like fighting or battling), we laughed together that she must have been the patient most adherent to her medicines that the Royal Marsden had ever treated. On a large chart, she assiduously recorded each of the many drugs she was taking in ever more complicated regimens – ticking them off as she took them, on time, every day. A pharmacist through and through.