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 Editor's letter

Filibuster (verb): Act in an obstructive manner in a legislative assembly, especially by speaking at inordinate length.

Earlier this month, a private members’ bill was defeated in Parliament by a technicality. In spite of support from across the political spectrum and among national charities, the Off-Patent Drug Bill – which would have required the government to “seek licences for off-patent drugs in new indications” – was literally talked to death by health minister Alistair Burt (page 12).

Burt used a ‘filibuster’, a parliamentary device dating back to Ancient Rome and more commonly used in the US to delay legislation. As an occupational wordsmith and logophile, the word itself sprang off the page. It is derived from the Dutch word vrijbuiter, describing a ‘privateer, pirate, robber’, which seems an apt description for its use in the mother of all parliaments. Interestingly, we get our word ‘freebooter’ from the same etymological root.

As it happens, we are exploring the repurposing of older drugs for new indications this month. In Voyage of Rediscovery (page 34), we take a holistic view of old-for-new drugs, asking why pharma has been slow to embrace repurposing its off-patent medicines and what pitfalls companies need to avoid when doing so.

COPD is a disease that affects over three million of people in the UK, although two-thirds remain undiagnosed. In Taking a Breath (page 38), we shine a light on this shadowy condition and ask what pharma can do to deliver on the needs of patients now and in the future.

I very much hope you enjoy this issue of PharmaTimes. If you have any thoughts, opinions, superlatives you would like to share, I welcome all and any feedback at

Hugh Gosling


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About PharmaTimes Magazine

PharmaTimes Magazine print and digital versions have a total circulation of 23,184, including 8,000 NHS healthcare professionals: chief pharmacists, medicines management and primary care commissioners.

PharmaTimes Magazine delivers independent, authoritative and trustworthy content on healthcare issues and topics, through impartial coverage in print and online. It brings together key stakeholders through a strong readership, including pharma and the NHS, by providing balanced and informed opinion and analysis around the key issues, trends and developments affecting today’s fast-moving environment.

PharmaTimes Online News Archive offers unique access to past issues of PharmaTimes Magazine and news elert stories.

©PharmaTimes Magazine 2015. All rights reserved. Material prepared by PharmaTimes Magazine is prohibited for use by third parties and publishers without permission.

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