The committee on the safety of medicines. A personal account from Prof. Bill Inman.

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The committee on the safety of medicines. A personal account from Prof. Bill Inman. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


An interview with Professor Bill Inman (by Dr Stephen Lock), one of the key figures in the early days of drug regulation in the UK. The interview takes place in Professor Inman's house near Southampton. He is in a wheelchair due to polio as a medical student. He describes how the Committee was set up in 1964 as a result of the thalidomide 'scandal'. At the time Inman was working at ICI. A number of committees relating to the safety of new drugs were established. He describes the 'yellow cards' (feedback questionnaires) which were returned by general practitioners and doctors indicating adverse side-effects to any drugs both new or old. An early success was the removal of Benziodarone which was removed from the market as it caused jaundice. The committee was instrumental in establishing a link between the contraceptive pill (specifically high doses of oestrogen) and thrombosis. Relating to this, a study was commissioned in 1966/67 and data was gathered by what he describes as 'Derek's Dolls', personable (presumably young) women to interview doctors about their experiences of prescribing the drug. The study was published in 1968. Inman contacted the MRC (Medical Research Council) but it took a while for them to react. Inman had strong views regarding the independence of drug regulation.


Southampton : Wellcome Trust, 1995.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (16:40 min.) : sound, colour



Copyright note

Wellcome Trust 2015.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Creator/production credits

Audio Visual Services for the History of Twentieth Century History Group. Produced by Audio Visual Services.

Language note

In English.



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