Lives of the fellows

John O'Grady

b.5 October 1944 d.24 July 2011
MB ChB Manch(1967) MRCP(1976) MD(1983) FRCP(1988) FFPM(1989)

John O’Grady was a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine and visiting professor of clinical pharmacology, University of London. He was born in Manchester, the son of Terence Patrick O’Grady, a physician who had served in Borneo during the Second World War. His mother Kathleen was a school teacher. John had one sister.

John was educated at the Xaverian College, Manchester, and then at Manchester University, from which he graduated MB ChB in 1967. He obtained his MD from Manchester in 1983. After two house jobs in Manchester, he moved to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. There he met his future wife, Anne, who was a ward sister. Anne had originally come from the west coast of Ireland and had done her nursing training in Birmingham. From the Radcliffe, John moved on to jobs at the National Hospital, Queen Square, and the Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith.

John and Anne married in 1974 and moved to Canada, where John had obtained the post of coroner in Saskatchewen, where he remained for the next two years.

On returning to the UK, John started a new career in the pharmaceutical industry, joining Wellcome Research Laboratories as head of clinical pharmacology. Subsequently he was medical director of Rhône-Poulenc (formerly May & Baker Laboratories and now Sanofi). John then became medical director for Europe, Daiichi Pharmaceuticals UK, and a director of Imperial Cancer Research Technology Ltd. Sadly, John’s latter years at Daiichi were marred by physical and psychological abuse from an antivivisection group.

John was at various times visiting professor at the University of Cape Town, visiting professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, University of Vienna, and visiting professor of clinical pharmacology, University of London.

John was active in the setting up of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, served on the faculty board for many years and was treasurer of the faculty. His work as treasurer put the faculty on a firm financial footing. At the same time I was also on the faculty board as chairman of the board of examiners and later as academic registrar. It was in this environment that we decided to collaborate to produce a comprehensive textbook of pharmaceutical medicine. The first edition of The textbook of pharmaceutical medicine (Belfast, Queen’s University) was published in 1993. Further editions followed. We also co-edited a further book, The regulation of medical products (London, BMJ, 2003). Mary Banks, our editor for both these publications, wrote: ‘I remember what jolly meetings we had at the Royal Society of Medicine…contrary to the usual it was you both prompting me (very politely) to get on with it’. Collaboration over 17 years with John was indeed fun, as working partners and subsequently as friends.

John always had an interest in medico-legal matters and specialised in drug-induced injury and malpractice in relation to drugs, as well as patent and intellectual property issues in relation to medical products. John was a member of the Academy of Experts, the professional body for expert witnesses. Wearing his medico-legal hat, John co-edited Medicines, medical devices and the law (London, Greenwich Medical Media, 1999).

John was a member of the Athenaeum. His main hobby was fishing, which he enjoyed both near his home in Lincolnshire and at Anne’s family home in the west of Ireland. He also enjoyed playing tennis. His other love was music, and he had played the piano from the age of four.

John and Anne had one daughter, Caroline, who is a specialist diabetic nurse at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and one grand daughter, Lucy. John was very proud of his family. He died suddenly at the age of 66.

John P Griffin

(Volume XII, page web)

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