[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 16, 1980

The Definition and Scope of Clinical Pharmacology

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Wood Veterans Administration Hospital Milwaukee
From the Medical College of Wisconsin, Wood Veterans Administration Hospital, Milwaukee.

JAMA. 1980;243(19):1901-1902. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300450015011

CLINICAL pharmacology has grown out of a need to extend the discipline of basic pharmacology into clinical practice. A similar evolution of a clinical science took place when clinical pathology became established as a discipline separate from basic pathology. The progenitors of clinical pathology saw that a new type of specialist in pathology, one with firm roots in clinical medicine, was necessary if the study of pathology was to progress in providing improved patient care. Clinical pathology has been an established and recognized discipline for more than half a century.

The growth and development of clinical pharmacology has proceeded much more slowly than that of clinical pathology. The earliest systematic clinical investigations into drugs were carried out by Harry Gold, MD, and his associates about 50 years ago. However, it was not until 1952 that Gold first voiced the need for the establishment of a separate discipline incorporating basic pharmacology