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)


Recent publications


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.

Dimmitt, S, Stampfer, HG, Martin, J & Ferner, R 2019, 'Efficacy and toxicity of antihypertensive pharmacotherapy relative to effective dose 50', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 85, no. 10, pp. 2218-2227.

Ferner, R & Cox, A 2019, 'Preventing future deaths from medicines: responses to coroners' concerns in England and Wales', Drug Safety, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 445–451.,

Ferner, R & Aronson, J 2019, 'Susceptibility to adverse drug reactions', British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 85, no. 10, pp. 2205-2212.

Langford, N, Morely, S & Ferner, R 2019, 'The relationship between ante-mortem and post-mortem morphine concentrations', Clinical Toxicology, vol. 57, no. 12, pp. 1142-1145.

Ferner, R & McGettigan, P 2018, 'Adverse drug reactions', BMJ, vol. 363, k4051.

Ferner, R & Aronson, J 2018, 'The toxicological significance of post-mortem drug concentrations in bile', Clinical Toxicology, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 7-14.

Ferner, R & Anton, C 2018, 'Twenty years of adverse drug reactions: a look back – part 2', Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin, pp. 1199–1202.

Holland, M & Ferner, R 2017, 'A systematic review of the evidence for acute tolerance to alcohol – the “Mellanby effect”', Clinical Toxicology, pp. 1-12.

Pontefract, S & Ferner, R 2017, 'Computerized order entry, clinical decision support, and safer prescribing', Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin, vol. 305, no. 1, pp. 1179–1182.

Book/Film/Article review

Ferner, R 2018, 'Disposition of toxic drugs and chemicals in man 11th edition', Clinical Toxicology, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 234-234.


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.

Aronson, JK, Goldacre, B & Ferner, RE 2018, 'Prescribing biosimilars', BMJ, vol. 362, pp. k3141.

Review article

Aronson, J & Ferner, R 2017, 'Biomarkers—A general review', Current Protocols in Pharmacology, vol. 76, pp. 9.23.1-9.23.17.


Clinical Pharmacology