Punch & Judy: Happy 150th birthday!

December 11, 2006

It's finally here. We turn 150 years old next month. Permit me to crow about this milestone a bit.

Not too many publications can claim bragging rights to a staying power of 150 years. If I'm not mistaken, only these publications-the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times, and the Farmers' Alamanc-have a longer history. Even the FDA, which we report on all the time, celebrated only its 100th anniversary just this past year. This means Drug Topics is part of an extremely exclusive group-one with a sesquicentennial heritage.

For us to have stood the test of time for a century and a half, we must be doing something right. That's what we gather from annual independent readership surveys. In survey after survey, Drug Topics has grabbed the No. 1 spot among total readers. Reaching the top isn't as hard as staying there. And we've stayed there for years on end.

In my 25 years with the newsmagazine, I can recall many articles we've done that have stood out in my memory. But rather than focus on my favorites, we'd like to hear what articles have resonated with you. Are there certain topics we've covered that have had a significant impact on your practice? Was there a headline that you still remember vividly? How about a cover image that sticks out in your mind?

We've set up a special anniversary microsite at http://www.drugtopics.com/ to house your feedback. We're really excited about this feature. It's designed not only as a repository of comments from readers on what Drug Topics has meant to them but also as an opportunity for visitors to stroll down memory lane and view some of our old covers and memorable stories. If you're a history buff, you'll get a kick out of visiting this site.

But that's not the only thing we've prepared or planned for our anniversary. Next March 19, we're coming out with a commemorative issue covering a retrospective and prospective look at pharmacy. Packed with articles on the past, present, and future of community and hospital pharmacy, it's sure to become an enduring reference and collector's item. So be sure to look out for it.

Another new feature next year is a column on the greatest moments in pharmacy over the past 150 years. This column will appear in each of our 23 issues in 2007. Tied to this column is a contest that seeks to measure your knowledge of pharmacy and how much you remember of the information in these columns. Details about the contest, including the rules, prizes, and how to participate in it, will appear on our microsite next month.

Finally, under the direction of pharmacist-historian Michael Harris, former curator of the Smithsonian Institution, we have organized an exhibit of 150 years of American pharmacy as reflected in Drug Topics. This exhibit debuted at our booth at the ASHP midyear meeting in Anaheim, Calif., last week and will be displayed at the APhA, NCPA, and other pharmacy conventions next year. So if you are attending these shows, be sure to stop by our booth.

We hope you will take part in the many festivities we have planned. Thank you for your unwavering support throughout these years. It has helped us go the distance.