Andrew Lofts Gray (Distinguished Old Rhodian Award)

Andrew Lofts Gray is awarded the Distinguished Old Rhodian Award as he is an outstanding leader in the pharmacy field both nationally and internationally and epitomizes Rhodes’ motto ‘where leaders learn’. His contribution to the pharmacy profession over the years, from its earliest beginning at Rhodes in 1978, where he completed his BPharm and MSc (Pharm) has been remarkable. With a very successful track record of teaching health care professionals and a long publication list, he is now at the forefront of pharmacy and pharmacology both at a local and global level.

Extremely knowledgeable he is sought-after for his balanced and well-informed opinions by health authorities and health care providers. This is evidenced by the role he plays on task teams and committees. He has held, or currently holds, the highest offices in his professional bodies including sitting on numerous committees for the World Health Organisation (WHO). His involvement on the many committees of WHO talks to his leadership in ensuring that marginalized citizens of the world have access to essential medicines.

More recently he has been actively involved in the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) initiative that arguably drives AIDS research in South Africa. His knowledge of pharmacology, drug policy, evidence-based medicine and the appropriate use of medicines has been described by colleagues as encyclopaedic.

A Senior Lecturer in the Division of Pharmacology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Andrew uses his wealth of knowledge in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as generously sharing his life-saving wisdom within the profession. He is a visiting fellow to Rhodes University’s Pharmacy Faculty where he is a guest lecturer and mentor. Andrew is heavily in demand and yet he gives of himself and time generously.

His contributions to Pharmacy have been recognised world-wide and he has received accolades from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), has been nominated as a Fellow of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, is a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa.

Andrew has been a member of the Names and Scheduling Expert Committee of the South African Medicines Control Council since 2000 and was appointed to the National Essential Medicines List Committee in 2012. He is a Member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Drug Policies and Management and has served as a member, rapporteur and co-chairperson of the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines.

He also actively works to ensure that this theory is applied outside the ivory towers by immersing himself in efforts to ensure that the pharmaceutical needs of all South Africans and the developing world have been considered and adequately addressed.

Widely published, he is associate editor of the South African Pharmaceutical Journal, section editor of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, and serves on the international editorial advisory boards of the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, and the GaBI Journal. Andrew has been actively involved in the development and assessment of medicines and other health-related law in South Africa.

The very nature of his profession provides service to society by constantly serving the health professionals who use medicines appropriately to treat the population at large. His selfless attributes make him a real credit to our University and a tremendous role model for those in his profession and beyond. It is for these phenomenal pharmacological achievements that Rhodes University is immensely proud to award the Distinguished Old Rhodian Award to Andrew Lofts Gray.