Clinical Pharmacology
Designatory Letters: 
LRCP&S Edin 1940, MRCPEdin 1948, DCH Lond 1950, FRCP Edin 1965, FRCP Lond 1970, FRCPS Glas 1972, FFPM 1989

[Contributed by Dr Richard Rondel]

Educated at Loretto School. Edinburgh and then the School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh, he qualified in 1940. Following his year of House appointments he joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, completing his service in 1946 with the rank of Squadron Leader.

On re-entering civilian life he worked first for two years as a Registrar at the Whittington Hospital during which time he sat for, and was awarded the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He then returned to Edinburgh, working first as a house physician at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and then moving on to become a medical Registrar at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He obtained his MRCP London in 1949 and the Diploma in Child Health in 1950.

Under normal circumstances these academic achievements would most likely have guaranteed him a prestigious consultant appointment in any one of a number of leading hospitals but following the upheavals of the second world war and with the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 circumstances in the medical world were now anything but normal.

As a result, Terry - in company with many other medically well-qualified ex-service men looking for consultancies at that time- was faced with the prospect of a long period of uncertainty while waiting for a suitable vacancy to arise. He took the bold decision which shaped his subsequent career - he joined the pharmaceutical industry, as the resident medical adviser to Glaxo. Suffice it to say that in those days for a medical doctor to work for a drug company, as an employee, was almost unknown. And the few that did, it has to be said, were not generally regarded in a very favourable light by their medical peers: they “had gone into trade”.

He later wrote that this gamble was considered to be burning one's professional bridges. But how wrong this turned out to be!

His arrival at Glaxo coincided with the onset of what is now known as The Therapeutic Revolution. A host of new, powerful drugs was emerging in the early 60's for which the old rather empirical methods of evaluation were totally inadequate. He immediately got to grips with this situation which he saw clearly needed a new approach, and set about mapping out the steps needed to accurately measure the clinical effects of these new drugs in relation to their potency - and to the way the body handled them.

This resulted in the publication in 1964 of his book entitled “The Absorption and Distribution of Drugs” This book was a landmark in our thinking about evaluating drug effects in humans - and still has much to say to us today.

Over succeeding years - first at Glaxo, and then when he moved to CIBA Laboratories, where he worked for the rest of his professional career, he built vigorously on these foundations and was responsible either alone or in collaboration with members of his team, for the development, based on sound clinical methodology, of a wide range of new therapeutic entities. Many of which are still in use today.

These achievements alone would have been more than enough for many people. But in addition to all this, he found time to produce a continuing stream of published papers throughout his professional career, on various aspects of the proper evaluation of new medicines: I have been able to find references to 80 but I think this list is probably incomplete. He was always in great demand as a speaker giving many lectures over the years at meetings of learned Societies

In addition, he sat on, or Chaired, or provided expert witness to, a wide range of professional, governmental and inter- governmental bodies both in the UK and farther afield. He also sat as an invited member on a number of WHO working groups.

In parallel with these activities, he played a seminal role in upgrading the status and professionalism of doctors working in the pharmaceutical industry by creating appropriate forums for the development of the skills they need to work effectively at the specialised interface between medical practice and the drug development process in the pharmaceutical industry setting.

His worry that by joining the industry might, in the eyes of his peers, be burning his professional bridges, turned out to be so wrong.In widespread recognition of his outstanding professional achievements he was elected, by his medical peers, to Fellowship of all three Royal Colleges of Physicians, - Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. He was justifiably - though being Terry, quietly! -proud.

In paying tribute to Terry's professional achievements, I must emphasise that I have merely been scraping the surface of the enormous contribution he has made to therapeutics and to the world of pharmaceutical medicine as a whole.

In the 48 years I have known Terry (8 of which were under his direction) I cannot recall ever seeing him lose his temper, or raise his voice in anger. He was unfailingly the most courteous and modest of men. I never heard him claim personal credit for any of his many important achievements. If he were reading all this now I know he would be absolutely excruciated!

“He was the right man, in the right place, at the right time.”