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Head: A quarter-century in the pharmacy community

By Irish Pharmacist - 01st Apr 2024

The various incarnations of Irish Pharmacist over the past 25 years

Publisher Graham Cooke charts the evolution Irish Pharmacist and its role in the pharmacy community

Along with the pharmacy profession itself, Irish Pharmacist (IP) has gone through many formative changes. Twenty-five years after its inception, Graham Cooke, Publisher of IP and Managing Director of Greencross Publishing, speaks about the magazine’s formative quarter-century.

He began by outlining the need for the publication to adapt to the changing role of pharmacists over the years. “It’s clear that the role of pharmacists has changed significantly over that 25 years – pharmacists have more autonomy in terms of treating patients, for instance. The addition of consultation rooms is just one other example of that,” he says.

“Furthermore, we can all see that there is a lot more that pharmacists could still do. However, what has also impressed me is that industry recognises that too,” he continues. “Our bread and butter is pharmaceutical support and advertising. Every journal goes through peaks and troughs, and IP is no exception, but IP and OTC Update have never been stronger, including irishpharmacist.ie. We are well supported, and this allows us to improve and expand our editorial content for community and hospital pharmacists. We are very proud to do that.”

Partnership

The importance of industry working in partnership with healthcare professionals is not lost on Mr Cooke, and he touched on how this symbiosis helps to drive pharmacy forward. “To some people, the industry element might be viewed with skepticism,” he says. “They are obviously there to sell therapies and products, but without them, journals like IP simply would not exist. Pharmacists get what we have to offer free of charge, and we are delighted to do that, but we are dependent on industry support to enable us to deliver.”

An important point is that almost all of the time, this content is independent of influence from industry. “With very few exceptions – such as commercial features, for example – industry has no influence over the content of an article,” says Mr Cooke.

A fundamental part of this drive to provide better content is the provision of quality clinical content written by pharmacists, for pharmacists. “We aim to keep pharmacists abreast of the latest trends and information in the profession. Hopefully they can then put that information in their armament when they are treating patients.”

Satisfaction

To have continuously developed this content over a quarter-century is a source of particular satisfaction for Mr Cooke. “I’m really proud,” he says. “It’s been a hell of a ride for the journal, starting with Eireann Healthcare Publications, which owned the publication when it was started in 1999, and when I was Sales Manager.


To be involved in the launch of the journal was fantastic … at this stage, I almost feel like a doting father, such is my affection for the magazine


Graham Cooke, GreenCross Publ
ishing MD

“To be involved in the launch of the journal was fantastic – I was in the National Library recently and to see Volume 1, Issue 1 brought back a lot of memories. I stepped away for a couple of years, but to have the chance to buy the title made me extremely proud. At this stage, I almost feel like a doting father, such is my affection for the journal.”

The first issue printed by Greencross Publishing was produced in January 2008, by Mr Cooke and then co-publisher Ms Maura Henderson. “That journey the company went on allowed us to publish OTC Update [formerly Pharmacy Assistant] as a supplement at the time which, of course, is now a successful journal in its own right.”

Milestone

Another milestone on this journey was the creation of irishpharmacist.ie, which is due to be relaunched in tandem with this anniversary issue of IP. “This all fills me with pride and satisfaction,” adds Mr Cooke. “There are not many journals that have achieved 25 years of continuous publication, so it really is cause for celebration.

“I feel the same sense of pride for all of our publications, including the Medical Independent, Update Clinical Journal and Nursing in General Practice,” he continues. “Every title we have launched since 2008 is still going strong, despite flying in the face of an increasingly digital world and the constraints on print advertising. That has been a challenge, but they are all going strong, in particular IP.”

Mr Cooke is also keen to acknowledge some of the people who were involved in IP since its inception. “That includes Chris Goodey and Maura Henderson in Eireann Healthcare Publications,” he says. “I would take this opportunity to acknowledge Maura. We worked together to set up Greencross Publishing and on IP; all those products that we helped to launch are still on the market today, and I think this is a good opportunity to pay tribute to the people who have been involved in the journal over the past 25 years, including the previous editors and writers.”

Input

He also acknowledges the important input of columnists and their contribution to the success of the journal. “Fintan Moore contributed to Volume 1, Issue 1, and he is still writing for us to this day,” he notes. “We have, and have had, other fantastic columnists during our time, such as Dr Des Corrigan, Terry Maguire, and Ultan Molloy. We have also been lucky to have had a number of other great writers who contributed in the past, including David Jordan, Julian Judge and Alan Ruth, to name but a few. I’m glad to have this opportunity to thank all those people for their contributions, past and present. They have really helped to make the publication what it is today.”

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