Professor Brian Prichard: Deacon, Mayor and cardiovascular pioneer

6 May 2010

A pioneer in the treatment of heart disease and UCL Emeritus Professor in Clinical Pharmacology, Professor Brian Prichard, has died aged 77. 

His friend and colleague Professor Raymond Macallister (UCL Division of Medicine) pays tribute to his varied and groundbreaking work in the fields of cardiovascular medicine, alcohol studies and his close involvement with the local community.


Brian Prichard made one of the most important advances of the last 50 years in the treatment of heart disease while working at UCL. Brian joined UCL in 1961 having qualified in medicine at St. George's Medical School in 1957. After various posts in Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology, he was appointed Consultant Physician at University College Hospital in 1973 and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology in 1980. Brian’s research on cardiovascular drugs led to his discovery that propranolol, a beta-blocking drug, reduced blood pressure. This work, published in 1964, revolutionised the treatment of blood pressure. It is his enduring legacy that in the last 50 years, millions of patients have been treated with these drugs to control blood pressure and so prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Brian was the foundation secretary of the clinical section of the British Pharmacological Society, a founder member of the Conservative Medical Society, and past President of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. He followed a long-established family tradition and served as councillor (for 40 years) and Mayor (since 2009) on Wandsworth Council. He was also Chairman of the Institute of Alcohol Studies from its foundation in 1981. He was a renowned and charismatic tee-totaller, ever willing to advance the benefits of abstinence to students, patients and colleagues. He was also a deeply religious man, and served as Deacon of Trinity Road Chapel in Wandsworth.

Brian was awarded the CBE in 1996 and, after his retirement in 1998, remained active in academia and travelled widely. He is survived by his wife, Denise, their four children and their 13 grandchildren, the oldest of whom recently qualified as a doctor from UCL.

Professor Brian Prichard. Born 7 November 1932. Died 7 April 2010