Lives of the fellows

Brian Norman Christopher Prichard

b.7 November 1932 d.7 April 2010
CBE(1996) BSc Lond(1953) MSc(1954) MRCS LRCP(1957) MB BS(1958) MRCP(1966) FRCP(1977) FFPM RCP(1989)

Brian Prichard was professor of clinical pharmacology at University College London (UCL). He was born in London, the son of Sir Norman George Mollett Prichard, a barrister, civil servant and politician. He was educated at Merton House and then Battersea Grammar School, and then went on to study at King’s College London, where he gained a BSc and MSc, going on to St George’s Hospital for his clinical studies. He qualified in medicine in 1957.

He held junior posts at St George’s Hospital and then, in 1962, was appointed as a lecturer in clinical pharmacology at University College Hospital Medical School. Six years later, he became a senior lecturer and, in 1973, was appointed as a consultant physician at University College Hospital. In 1980 he became professor of clinical pharmacology.

His research on cardiovascular drugs led to his discovery that the beta blocker propranolol effectively reduced blood pressure. This work, published in 1964 in the British Medical Journal (Sept 19;2[5411]:725-7), revolutionised the treatment of high blood pressure. It is his enduring legacy that, in the last 50 years, countless millions of patients have been treated with these drugs to control blood pressure and so prevent heart attack and stroke.

Brian was the foundation secretary of the clinical section of the British Pharmacological Society, a founder member of the Conservative Medical Society, and past president of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. A renowned and charismatic teetotaller, he was also chairman of the Institute of Alcohol Studies from its foundation in 1981.

He followed a long-established family tradition and served as a councillor (for 40 years) and as mayor on his local council, Wandsworth. He was also a deeply religious man, and served as deacon of Trinity Road Chapel in Wandsworth.

Brian was awarded the CBE in 1996 and, after his retirement in 1998, remained active in academia and travelled widely. He was survived by his wife, Denise Margaret née Stoneham, their four children and their 13 grandchildren, the oldest of whom qualified as a doctor.

Raymond MacAllister

[University College London – accessed 14 May 2010; The Institute of Alcohol Studies – accessed 14 May 2010]

(Volume XII, page web)

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