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Discussing the future of UK clinical pharmacology, eight Australasian clinical pharmacologists emphasized the need to make the discipline ‘indispensable’ in key areas. The visibility of clinical pharmacology in Australasia has been improved by working with the Consumers’ Health Forum in Australia in the construction of the national Policy on Quality Use of Medicines and, later, of the formal National Medicines Policy. Our expertise in clinical pharmacology, combined with the Health Forum's political skills, proved a potent force for launching these policies. A second example was the construction of the national prescribing curriculum in partnership with the National Prescribing Service. This is being used in all medical schools with senior students. At a local level we found that taking over clinical toxicology services (that other clinicians wanted to jettison) provided a stimulus to clinical research and later the formation of a productive subgroup to study the special problems of envenomation. Fourthly, we note that no clinical pharmacology unit in UK is designated as a WHO collaborating centre. Considerable difference can be made to national problems with medicines by clinical pharmacologists willing to work for periods within developing countries. This has given a greater profile to several groups in Australia. The principle of stepping out of conventional settings and actively seeking collaboration with other groups beyond our discipline has enhanced the profile of the discipline in Australasia and could do the same in the UK.