Mark Howard Beers

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 01 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2605
  1. Caroline Richmond

    Highlighted the dangers of prescribing for elderly people

    Mark Beers published and publicised his cautionary research on drug interactions in older people. He showed that many were the victims of inappropriate and excessive prescribing, and he drew up guidelines that are widely used in the United States and occasionally in Britain. His work led to the eponymous Beers criteria for prescribing for elderly people—although, said former colleague Professor Richard Besdine, he was far too self effacing to have used the term himself. Beers, a geriatrician, was attracted to the specialty for the intellectual challenge of working with patients with multiple illnesses.

    He was born in New York; his father was a brigadier in the US Air Force and his mother a nurse. He attended Polypred School, Brooklyn, and was refused entry into several premedical university courses because he had type 1 diabetes, diagnosed when he was 9. He graduated in science from Tufts University in Boston and did his medical training at the University of Vermont. He did postgraduate training at Harvard, where he was …

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