An agenda for UK clinical pharmacology: The roles of clinical pharmacologists in formulating medicines policy locally


Dr John Reynolds, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. E-mail:


Specialists in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT) can add value in day-to-day NHS activities in several ways. They provide a breadth of expertise that is not organ-based or disease-specific and that is based on an intimate knowledge and understanding of the effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of pharmacological interventions. More than any other professional group, they can address the growing need for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to be based on ‘thoughtful therapeutics’, not just the mechanics of prescribing. CPT specialists can and do take the lead in making local and national policy decisions relating to drug usage and they should be involved in local commissioning decisions. Because of the breadth of experience embraced by CPT, many clinical pharmacologists have taken on local and national senior clinical leadership roles. CPT needs to demonstrate to the NHS, and in particular to trainees, that a CPT post in the NHS is a legitimate and rewarding career path, where they can use their hard earned CPT skills and expertise to the benefit of the NHS as a whole.