Professor Robin Ferner MSc MD FRCP FBPharmacolS FBToxicolS

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Honorary Professor of Clinical Pharmacology

Contact details

City Hospital
B18 7QH

Robin Ferner and his team are interested in medication errors and adverse drug reactions, and how to prevent them. In addition to over 70 original papers and over 50 reviews, he has written commentaries for the Lancet, BMJ, and British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology on these topics.

His current research includes monitoring of patients for the development of adverse reactions to antihypertensive drugs in general practice, a GPRD study funded through the Medical Research Council.

He and his Clinical Pharmacology colleagues in the University of Birmingham have been responsible for teaching and examining medical students in therapeutics, and for more than ten years have run the innovative ‘Therapeutics OSCE,’ an objective structured clinical examination in practical therapeutics.


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


Robin Ferner is a Consultant Physician and Clinical Pharmacology. He also directs the West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions. He qualified in Chemistry from University College London, and undertook research in Paris and Oxford before returning to London to study Medicine.


  • MB 3rd Year and 5th Year Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • MB bedside teaching
  • MSc Toxicology

Postgraduate supervision

MD and PhD: adverse drug reactions


Research concentrates on the harms and prevention of harms from medicines

Other activities

  • Commission for Human Medicines (formerly Committee on Safety of Medicine) Expert Advisory Panel: member (from 1996)
  • Pharmacovigilance Expert Advisory Group, Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (formerly Subcommittee on Pharmacovigilance, Committee on Safety of Medicines): member (from 2000)
  • NHS Member, National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence Appeal Panel (from 2006)


McDowell SE, Mt-Isa S, Ashby D, Ferner RE. Where errors occur in the preparation and administration of intravenous medicines: a systematic review and Bayesian analysis. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010; 19: 341-5.

McDowell SE, Coleman JJ, Evans SJ, Gill PS, Ferner RE. Laboratory monitoring and adverse patient outcomes with antihypertensive therapy in primary care. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2010 May;19(5):482-9.

Cox AR, Anton C, McDowell SE, Marriott JF, Ferner RE. Correlates of spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions within primary care: the paradox of low prescribers who are high reporters. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2010; 69: 529-34.

Kshirsagar N.A., Olsson S., Ferner R.E. Consideration of the desirable features and possible forms of practical indicators of the performance of pharmacovigilance centres. International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine 2010; 22: 59-66.

Coleman JJ, McDowell SE, Evans SJ, Gill PS, Ferner RE. Oversight: a retrospective study of biochemical monitoring in patients beginning antihypertensive drug treatment in primary care. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2010; 70: 109-17.

Karthikeyan VJ, Ferner RE, Baghdadi S, Lane DA, Lip GY, Beevers DG. Are angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers safe in pregnancy: a report of ninety-one pregnancies. J Hypertens. 2011 Feb;29(2):396-9.

Bonnici K, Stanworth D, Simmonds MSJ, Mukherjee E, Ferner RE. Flowers of evil. Lancet 2010; 376: 1616

Ferner RE, Hughes DA, Aronson JK. NICE and new: appraising innovation. BMJ  2010; 340: b5493.


Clinical Pharmacology