Press release

New Chair of Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency today announced the appointment of Professor Sir Michael Rawlins as its new Chair. He will take up post formally from 01 December 2014 and his appointment will be for three years.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins

Professor Sir Michael will take over from Sir Gordon Duff who announced his intention to step down earlier this year, following his election as Principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins was until recently Chair of the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE), a role from which he stood down in 2013. He is also currently Chairman of Biobank.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said:

It will be a tremendous honour to take up the agency’s chair, whose vital work as the UK’s regulator of medicines and medical devices is underpinned by first-class science and research carried out at each of the agency’s centres; the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and MHRA.

Sir Gordon has overseen a very successful and crucial period of major change in the agency’s history and I am looking forward to taking that on, as we seek to provide an innovative, transparent and cost-efficient service to further protect and improve public health.

Sir Gordon Duff said:

I am delighted at the appointment of Sir Michael Rawlins as agency Chair. In Sir Michael, the agency is getting an experienced, highly respected and influential public health expert who will prove a real asset in meeting the challenges to come.

I am proud of what the agency has achieved in the last two years, not least in the ongoing day-to-day regulation of medicines and medical products but also through the leading role the agency plays, both at home and on the global stage. I wish Sir Michael and all agency staff every success as they continue their invaluable work.

Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally C Davies said:

I am delighted at Sir Michael Rawlins’ appointment as agency Chair. He will bring a wealth of experience to the Board and will play a key role in the leadership of our national regulator who will continue to focus on excellence and innovation.

I would also like to thank Professor Sir Gordon Duff for his considerable contribution as chairman. Sir Gordon successfully led the agency through a period of organisational change and growth where the agency took on substantial additional responsibilities, including NIBSC. I wish Sir Gordon all the best in his new role as Principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Although not regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointment’s Code of Practice, this appointment has been made in accordance with the Code. The appointment was made on merit and political activity played no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Professor Sir Michael Rawlins has not declared any political activity and does not hold any other Ministerial appointments.


  1. The appointment will involve a time commitment of between two to three days a week. Remuneration for the role is offered at a rate of £63,000 per annum. Sir Gordon Duff will remain as agency Chairman until 30 November 2014.

  2. Sir Michael Rawlins was the Chairman of NICE since its formation in 1999 until April 2013. He is also an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was the Ruth and Lionel Jacobson Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne from 1973 to 2006. At the same time he held the position of consultant physician and consultant clinical pharmacologist to the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust. He became a member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines in 1980 and was vice-chairman (1987-1992) and chairman (1993-1998). He was appointed chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and served until 2008.

  3. Sir Gordon Duff became the agency’s Chair in January 2013. He was Chair of the Commission of Human Medicines (CHM), Chair of the National Emergency Quality Panel and Chair of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Committee. Since 1991 Sir Gordon has been Lord Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Sheffield. From 2000 – 2009, Professor Sir Gordon was Chairman of the National Biological Standards Board and has been co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies since 2009. He was knighted in 2007 for services to public health.

  4. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is responsible for protecting and improving the health of millions of people every day through the effective regulation of medicines and medical devices, underpinned by science and research. The agency consists of three centres: the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and the MHRA.

Published 3 November 2014