The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Letter to the editor

Editor, – Thank you for your circular letter of 1 February 1994 to readers of Australian Prescriber. I completely agree with your list of selling points for this journal, but I am really irritated that you persist with the myth that Australian Prescriber is independent.

This publication is fully funded by a Federal government department and can therefore never claim to be independent. The true test of independence is to survive in the marketplace and be paid for by your individual subscribers.

I recognise some familiar names among the contributors to Australian Prescriber. Many are academics undertaking research and writing articles for journals supported by pharmaceutical companies. You do your colleagues (and indeed yourself) a disservice when you imply that their opinions expressed in one publication may be tainted while the same opinions in another publication will be certified free of such impurities.

Let us have no more of this holier than thou nonsense. Australian Prescriber is an excellent little journal. It meets its objectives of readability, balance, etc., but no more or less than any of the small pile of journals on drugs and prescribing that we all receive.

Graham Row
Nephrology Unit
Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital
Greenslopes, Qld

Editor's comment

Australian Prescriber is a member of the International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB). The ISDB is aware of the potential conflict between medical publications and advertisers and forbids its member journals from accepting pharmaceutical advertising. Dr Row can rest assured that Australian Prescriber is free from commercial influence.

I accept that the journal is funded by the Commonwealth. However, the articles are commissioned by an independent Executive Editorial Board of practising clinicians. The Editorial Board can seek advice from the Advisory Editorial Panel (see back cover of journal) which represents many groups of health professionals. Therefore, the content of Australian Prescriber is determined by the professions and not dictated by the government. All articles are extensively reviewed by both the Editorial Board and independent external referees.

Freedom from government and commercial interests results in an impartial and balanced journal. This freedom was recognised in the most recent readership survey, where only 3% of respondents thought that the Editor, Editorial Board or contributors were not independent and unbiased.