Intended for healthcare professionals


Andrew Herxheimer

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 16 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1556
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Clinical pharmacologist, founding editor of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, and veteran of the Cochrane Collaboration

It was during a two year sabbatical in the United States that Andrew Herxheimer got the idea for a journal giving impartial and independent advice on drugs and therapeutics. He was impressed by the US journal Medical Letter, and on his return to the UK in 1962 he approached the Consumers’ Association, publishers of Which magazine, who agreed to go into partnership with him.

He published a UK version of the American magazine for a year before launching the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin with the Consumers’ Association. Herxheimer edited the DTB for the next 30 years, stamping his voice and personality on the journal.

The production of an article followed a unique process: Herxheimer and his editorial colleagues would come up with an idea, commission an author, and then go through a long process of editing. The article, which was always anonymous, would be shown to at least 25 people, including the manufacturers of the product in question and those of its competitors. At the end of this process the article would often bear little resemblance to the original piece. Sometimes authors would be upset at the changes, but Herxheimer was resolute that “articles had to …

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