A passion for medicine
I developed a real interest in medicines and how they work whilst at King’s, especially issues surrounding receptors and the mechanism of action of medicines. This was an exciting time in pharmacology - renowned pharmacologists Sir John Vane and Salvador Moncada were demonstrating how aspirin worked, and Sir James Black was producing the forerunner to H2 blockers - which inspired me greatly.
I chose to read Pharmacology at King’s even though I studied Chemistry, Maths and Physics at A-level as I wanted to study in a ‘living’ science. In addition, I wanted to be in a course with only a limited number of students so I could really get to know them. This worked and I really enjoyed my time at King’s, also developing a passion for hockey.
During my last year at King’s, we were encouraged by staff such as Dr John Halliday and Dr John M. Littleton to lecture ourselves through searching the literature on set topics, to consolidate our findings and communicate these back to colleagues. This gave me invaluable experience in questioning the findings of different studies, and how these were arrived at, in order to form, communicate and defend my opinions with others. These activities instilled in me a passion to really research and discuss how medicines work and their impact on patient care, subsequently shaping my working career.
After joining the pharmaceutical industry following a postgraduate year at Sheffield University, during which I read Economics and Business Studies, I eventually ended up in health economics; the objective was to better communicate the value of medicines. I subsequently joined a European Healthcare Consultancy in 1993 to undertake similar activities for companies as well as help health authorities with key issues including prioritisation and rationing healthcare. Following this, I joined a colleague to establish an international consultancy where I headed the international division.