Professor Robin Ferner MSc MD FRCP FBPharmacolS FBToxicolS

Professor Robin Ferner

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Honorary Professor of Clinical Pharmacology

Contact details

City Hospital
B18 7QH

Robin Ferner is interested in medication errors and adverse drug reactions, and how to prevent them. In addition to over 120 original papers and over 85 reviews, he has written commentaries for the LancetBMJ, and British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology on these topics.

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3769-1346


  • 1988 MD (‘Beta-Cell Responses to Glucose in Man’)
  • 1980 MRCP (UK)
  • 1978 MB BS
  • 1975 MSc
  • 1971 BSc


Robin Ferner retired from the NHS in 2017. He is an Honorary Consultant Physician and Clinical Pharmacologist at City Hospital Birmingham, Director Emeritus of the West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions, and Consulting Clinical Toxicologist at the National Poisons Information Service (Birmingham Centre). He qualified in Chemistry from University College London, and undertook research in Paris and Oxford before returning to London to study Medicine.


  • SCRIPT eLearning suite for safer prescribing 
  • MSc Pharmacy
  • MSc Toxicology


Research concentrates on the harms and prevention of harms from medicines.

Other activities

  • Royal College of Physicians/British Pharmacological Society Joint Specialist Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Royal College of Physicians Patient Safety Committee
  • Joint Royal Colleges Medicines Safety Group


Highlight publications

Ferner, RE & Aronson, JK 2020, 'Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in covid-19', BMJ, pp. m1432.

Ferner, R & Aronson, JK 2006, 'Clarification of terminology in medication errors: definitions and classification', Drug Safety, vol. 29, no. 11, pp. 1011-22.

McDowell, S, Coleman, J & Ferner, R 2006, 'Systematic review and meta-analysis of ethnic differences in risks of adverse recations to drugs used in cardiovascular medicine', British Medical Journal, vol. 332, no. 7551, pp. 1177-81.

Recent publications


Ferner, R 2021, 'Medicines and murder', The Medico-legal journal.

Cox, AR & Ferner, R 2021, 'Tramadol: repeated prescriptions and repeated warnings', BMJ evidence-based medicine.

Ferner, R & Pucci, M 2020, 'Adverse drug reactions', Medicine, vol. 48, no. 7, pp. 443-449.

Sanghvi, S, Allen, R, Cho, S, Ferner, RE, Urquhart, R & Sofat, R 2020, 'Are high-cost drug funding mechanisms fit for purpose? A retrospective study of individual funding requests in an NHS tertiary hospital', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Aronson, JK & Ferner, RE 2020, 'Drugs and the renin-angiotensin system in covid-19', BMJ, pp. m1313.

Bennett, F, Shah, N, Offord, R, Ferner, R & Sofat, R 2020, 'Establishing a service to tackle problematic polypharmacy', Future Healthcare Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 208-211.

Ferner, RE & Aronson, JK 2020, 'Harms and the Xmas factor', BMJ, vol. 371, pp. m4067.

Ferner, RE & Aronson, JK 2020, 'Medical Devices: Classification and Analysis of Faults Leading to Harms', Drug Safety, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 95-102.

Ferner, RE & Aronson, JK 2020, 'Remdesivir in covid-19', BMJ, pp. m1610.

Haidar, MK, Vogt, F, Takahashi, K, Henaff, F, Umphrey, L, Morton, N, Bawo, L, Kerkula, J, Ferner, R, Porten, K & Baud, FJ 2020, 'Suspected paracetamol overdose in Monrovia, Liberia: a matched case-control study', BMC Pediatrics, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 139.

Dimmitt, S, Floyd, C & Ferner, R 2019, 'Antithrombotic dose: some observations from published clinical trials', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 85, no. 10, pp. 2194-2197.


Ferner, R, Aronson, J & Heneghan, C 2019, 'Crisis in the supply of medicines.', BMJ, vol. 367, l5841, pp. I5841.

Sofat, R, Cremers, S & Ferner, R 2019, 'Drug and therapeutics committees as guardians of safe and rational medicines use', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 85.

Review article

Bennett, F, Ferner, R & Sofat, R 2021, 'Overprescribing and rational therapeutics: barriers to change and opportunities to improve', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 87, no. 1, pp. 34-38.

Aronson, JK, Heneghan, C & Ferner, RE 2020, 'Medical Devices: Definition, Classification, and Regulatory Implications', Drug Safety, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 83-93.


Clinical Pharmacology