As papyrus, velum and slate made way for paper and Caxton’s printing press, so paper has made way for pixels – as shown by how many of you are reading this on a computer or smartphone.
There is much to be admired about paper as a medium of communication: it’s cheap, easily portable, simply annotated, and recyclable. This probably explains why the “paperless society” first envisaged 40 years ago has yet to materialise, and why billions of pounds spent on the electronic prescription service (EPS) merely transferred the process of printing paper from the surgery to the pharmacy.
But seeing how online information, such as the British National Formulary (BNF) or the drug tariff, is so much quicker to access, easier to search and more up to date, it was inevitable that after almost 160 years we’d reach an end to C+D in its paper form.
It is extraordinary to think that C+D was first published in the age of Dickens, Darwin and Palmerston, and it shows the strength of the magazine that it survived while the Blacksmith’s Times, Candlestick Weekly and What Carriage have ceased publication. Thankfully our publishers managed this without resorting to gimmicks. But it is all-too easy to imagine a world where the following titles made it into pharmacies:
Create Your Own Pharmacy! Each week C+D comes with a free box of generics. Bonus issue volume 10 has cetirizine and hard-to-get cimetidine! Builds up over 37 years into a fully stocked dispensary!
For the cross-dressing pharmacist, there’s Chemist and Draggist magazine – articles include the tricky question of: “White coat with skirt or trousers?”
Our younger readers can enjoy CBBC+D. In conjunction with the BBC children’s channel, CBBC+D introduces kids to the wonderful world of pharmaceuticals with stories about the correct dose of Haribos, interaction between milk and orange squash, and counting Smarties.
Sadly our entry into the notoriously difficult teen market, Crank and Dope magazine, couldn’t get past issue six. It didn’t so much fold, as get rolled up and smoked.
Of course, other pharmacy magazines are still available in paper, including some highbrow clinical journals and others which, in my view, skirt over the big issues. But none have the reputable or broad appeal of C+D, whose greatest blessing is that it continues to reflect the reality and experience of practising pharmacists. That, and the fact it hasn’t appeared as the “guest publication” on Have I Got News For You.
For my last words in print, let me point out that there has been an Xrayser article featured ever since the days of Queen Victoria, when C+D was born, and it has been an honour, privilege and pleasure to write for you with quill, fountain pen, ballpoint and keyboard.
From now on you will have to read my musings online on your PC, phone… or preferably on a tablet – surely the most appropriate device for Chemist + Druggist magazine.