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• Watch out for acute shortages... of critical thinking!

Poisson d'avrilTo err is human, but when computers are involved, things can really get out of hand. Our ever-encroaching digital magic too often causes humans to put their critical faculties on hold. In these days of chronic drug shortages, contagious panic and an acute dependence on virtual everything, it's more vital than ever to hang on to one's good old-fashioned thinking cap.

april fool's!Talk about a drug that ticks all the boxes! A tablet that is fully personalisable online, right down to the patient's choice of flavours: salted caramel, anyone? And wonderfully impervious to drug shortages and other recurring logistical nightmares, thanks to its revolutionary 3D printing technology. Pillflix 3D° certainly sounds like a dream come true for healthcare professionals. But when we start to dream in 3D, it's high time to pinch ourselves. And to get our heads out of the Cloud.

And yes, as alert readers will already have surmised, our "News Flash" hyping the launch of "Pillflix 3D°" and its revolutionary remote manufacturing process was, you guessed it, an April fool's prank.

Poisson d'avril

38 years of "fishy business" in April

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.

And on a few occasions, Prescrire's "April fish" (as the seasonal pranks are known in France) have even made it into the English edition, Prescrire International. One of these is included below, in this sampling of Prescrire's yearly "Poissons d'avril".

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

©Prescrire 1 April 2020

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For more information:

Pillflix3D° : premier dispositif
d’auto-préparation à distance
d'un comprimé
(April 2020)
Free (in French)

Tous crédules ?
Rev Prescrire 2020 ;
40 (438) : 241
Pdf (in French), free