Intended for healthcare professionals


Owen Lyndon Wade

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 04 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b848
  1. Martin Kendall

    Clinical pharmacologist who revolutionised the BNF

    Professor Owen Wade’s greatest legacy is the British National Formulary (BNF) in its current format, which is regarded as the bible by prescribers and dispensers and is now used by almost all doctors, pharmacists, and those training to be prescribers in the United Kingdom. Owen was one of the founding leaders of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics in the UK. He created two new departments, in Belfast and Birmingham, and played a key role in the training of many medical students.

    Modern paperback

    From 1948 to 1978 the BNF was a dull, hardback publication that explained how to make old fashioned and largely ineffective remedies. It was published about every three years and used many Latin terms and 19th century measures. In 1978 Owen became chairman of the formulary committee. He led the team that by 1981 had transformed the BNF into its modern, paperback format, published every six months and used by thousands of doctors in the UK and …

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