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Top award for local scientist

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:54 01 August 2010

A SCIENTIST from Toft Monks has amazed experts at the British Association of Research Quality Assurance (BARQA) with an essay that blends the fields of pharmacy and sociology.

A SCIENTIST from Toft Monks has amazed experts at the British Association of Research Quality Assurance (BARQA) with an essay that blends the fields of pharmacy and sociology.

Malcolm Brown, of Burnthouse Lane, recently won the top prize in the BARQA's prestigious Premier Article Competition.

Mr Brown, 63, is a pharmaceutical consultant and was Director of Pharmacy at the James Paget Hospital until 1994.

He has also studied sociology and has had a number of articles published, as well as his 2005 book Drugs and Desire.

In his essay The Quality Anthropologist, which was published in the January edition of the BARQA's magazine Quasar and described by the judges as “fantastic”, Mr Brown argues that the fields of pharmacy and sociology should be combined in order to further advances in medicine.

He writes that by looking through the fresh perception of an anthropologist or sociologist, mistakes in the field of medicine can be avoided.

He explained: “Hard-nosed quality assurance scientists in the pharmaceutical industry look within a circle of light. Anthropologists and sociologists look within a different circle of light. Those circles slightly overlap forming a brighter light. Scrutiny there might reveal how medicines can be improved before the next disaster.

“I am both pharmacist, scientist, and sociologist: a rare combination. I have visited that 'overlap' area. It fascinates and thrills me. I believe that valuable discoveries await there and I wanted to challenge others to unearth them.”

He added: “Over the years, people have told me, with smiles, that I live on a different planet. This award means that some people must want to visit!”

Mr Brown, who has lived in Toft Monks since 1977, is now working on his second novel. His novel Drugs and Desire is available from Bookthrift in Exchange Square in Beccles, priced at £4.99.

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