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• Decline in vigilance: talk is cheap!

You can say that again! Our desire to communicate more, better and faster can end up bankrupting our sense of what is truly important. We all need an annual April "booster shot", to take a good, hard look at our perception of information.

april fool's! Alert readers the world over will have recognised that the item in the April issue of La revue Prescrire entitled "Pay-for-talk" – although better communications with healthcare professionals would certainly pay off for patients – was in fact an April fool's prank.

3 Decades of "fishy business" in April
April fool's!The traditional April prank by Prescrire's editors serves as an annual "booster shot" to remind us all that in the serious business of medical information, it pays to exercise critical judgement at all times.

In April 1983 Prescrire's "special correspondent" revealed to enthralled readers the enormous interest of protryptophane in the treatment of acute senility... And ever since, the experiment has been repeated yearly in La revue Prescrire's April issue.

In 2003 Prescrire's "April fish" (as the seasonal pranks are known in France) even made it into the English edition, Prescrire International. It's included below, in a sampling of Prescrire's yearly "Poissons d'avril".

Greatest hits from Prescrire's annual "Poisson d'avril" prank

  •  IN ENGLISH  Tour de France: ads in the saddle! (1 April 2003)
    "In case Credit Lyonnais pulls out of Tour de France sponsorship, negotiations with the French pharmaceutical federation are nearing completion... Companies manufacturing growth hormones and erythropoietin, have opted for the spotted jersey for the best climber..."
    "Tour de France: ads in the saddle!" Prescrire Int 2003; 11 (66): 307. (pdf, free)

©Prescrire 1 April 2015



Rev Prescrire 2015;
35 (378) : 307.
Pdf, subscription to the
French edition required