Quote of the Month: Professor Bill Inman

... the Pill might be causing thrombosis. With some difficulty I organized a national study, picking out all deaths within the childbearing age group that would occur in 1966. I had to wait for them to occur and follow them up. By that time I had recruited a team of field workers – we called them Derrick’s Dolls – they were personable, mostly young, doctors who visited the general practitioners to get the information at first hand, which the doctors appreciated. We got the cause of death from death certificates, and I used the same team to follow up the yellow card reports. So these girls went out and collected I think about three or four hundred cases and at the beginning of 1967 there looked like at least a six-fold, maybe an eight-fold, excess of Pill users. Professor Bill Inman, transcript of 'The Committee on the Safety of Drugs: a personal account'.

Professor William H W (Bill)  Inman (1929 -2005), qualified in medicine at Cambridge in 1956. After a short period in clinical practice, he became a medical adviser to Imperial Chemical Industries. In 1964 he joined the Ministry of Health’s Committee on Safety of Drugs as Senior Medical Officer, later Principal Medical Officer. He was principally responsible for  developing  its voluntary reporting system of adverse reactions to drugs, and became  Medical Assessor of Adverse Reactions Sub-Committee.  He devised a number of procedures and protocols to detect risks of drug treatment, and played a part in developing both national and international drug safety monitoring.

The transcript of The Committee on the Safety of Drugs: a personal account by Professor Bill Inman is available here.

The video of Professor Inman's interview with Dr Stephen Lock, produced for our Group in February 1996, can be viewed here:

The Wellcome Witness Seminar on The Committee on Safety of Drugs can be downloaded here.