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Forty years of the Clinical Pharmacology Colloquium (1981-2021)

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Published: 12 May 2022

The Clinical Pharmacology Colloquium first met in Dyffryn, St. Nicholas, South Wales in November 1981. At that time, it was known as the South-West Clinical Pharmacology Group and was intended as a forum for clinical pharmacologists in academic centres in the south-west of England (Bath, Bristol, and Southampton) as well as the clinical pharmacologists who had been appointed earlier that year in Cardiff University in Wales to meet and share their work. It was modelled on the clinical pharmacology group in the North of England which had already met for several years. Colleagues from Bangor, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford, Stoke, Warwick, and other centres were keen to get involved in the new South-West group, so its name was later changed to the Clinical Pharmacology Colloquium (CPC) to reflect this wider geographic representation. 

Over the last forty years, meetings have been held generally biannually (in May and November) in one of the participating centres. The Colloquium’s aim is to encourage informal sharing of research ideas in development, including research in education, and to encourage early-stage researchers to present their preliminary findings for constructive discussion and advice. Researchers at all career stages greatly appreciate the Colloquium as an opportunity to present their research or ideas to a broader audience before submitting it to a national or international scientific conference.  

Face-to-face meetings are preceded by an informal dinner on a Friday evening with the programme of up to seven short scientific presentations (see an example programme from 2009 in Figure 1) and a brief business meeting follows on Saturday morning. Contributors to the programme are encouraged to consider presenting subsequently at learned societies, ideally the British Pharmacological Society, and to consider membership of the Society. Several recent contributors of presentations have been intercalated/ medical/ pharmacy undergraduate students as well as PhD students. Senior members also often contribute talks and British Pharmacological Society members constitute a majority of our regular attenders. We thank Roger Marshall (Cardiff), Una Martin (Birmingham), John Thompson (Southampton and Cardiff) and others who also served terms as Honorary Secretary of CPC. 

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support given by the British Pharmacological Society (our sole sponsor) to the cost of the venue of the face-to-face meetings. During the COVID pandemic, the Colloquium has continued to meet virtually via Zoom. Topics presented over the last 24 months have included COVID vaccinations and adverse drug reactions, clinical trials during the COVID pandemic, adherence to therapy for gout, efficacy of hypnotics, noradrenaline transporter rate in the cardiovascular system, QT interval prolongation, drug overdose and toxicovigilance, and methods to stimulate spontaneous reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions. 

As the Colloquium enters its fifth decade, we look forward to being able to again meet again face-to-face as soon as feasible, but we hope now to host meetings in a hybrid format, with the option of personal or virtual attendance. The CPC will continue in its efforts to highlight the importance of clinical pharmacology and pharmacology, and the vital role of the British Pharmacological Society as a global community, promoting pharmacological research and applications internationally, and inspiring the next generation of clinical pharmacologists.  

Attendance is open to all with an interest in pharmacology, and attendees include clinical pharmacologists, pharmacologists, clinicians, pharmacists, toxicologists, and other scientists. We strive to be inclusive and welcome those whose research includes even a passing interest in pharmacology, in addition to those whose careers are already in pharmacology/clinical pharmacology. For further information about the Colloquium, please contact

Figure 1: CPC Programme from November 2009 


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Published: 12 May 2022

About the authors

James Coulson

James Coulson is a Reader in Clinical Pharmacology at Cardiff University and a member of the British Pharmacolical Society since 2009. He is the current Honorary Secretary of the Clinical Pharmacology Colloquium (2015-present).

Phil Routledge

Phil Routledge is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Cardiff University, and an honorary Fellow and a President Emeritus of the British Pharmacolical Society. He was Honorary Secretary of the Clinical Pharmacology Colloquium (1981-1985 & 2010-2015).

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