Obituaries

David Horrobin

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7394.885 (Published 19 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:885

Founder of Scotia Pharmaceuticals and the journal Medical Hypotheses, and passionate promoter of evening primrose oil

The General Medical Council recently found Dr Goran Jamal guilty of research fraud (BMJ 2003;326:730). Twelve years ago he had falsified clinical trials of the drug Tarabetic, also known as Efamol, for a now-defunct company called Scotia. He had been promised a 0.5% royalty on sales, which was described as “highly unusual.” This may throw a light on Scotia's way of working, for in its 10 year existence it obtained medicinal licences for only three products: Efamast for benign breast pain, Efalith for seborrhoeic dermatitis, and Epogam for atopic eczema. The licences were later withdrawn because the stuff didn't work. The products contained evening primrose oil, which may go down in history as the remedy for which there is no disease, and David Horrobin, Scotia's former chief executive, may prove to be the greatest snake oil salesman of his age.

Horrobin went to Balliol College, Oxford, on two scholarships to read medicine and did his clinical studies at St Mary's Hospital …

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