John Sharp, BSC, CChem, FRSC, Hon. MRPharmS, CBiol, MiBiol, FIQA was born on 19th October 1930 in Chiswick, London where he also grew up. He married in 1963 and lived initially in Perivale Middlesex, before moving to Maidenhead in Berkshire and then finally to Woodley (near Reading) in Berkshire where he lived with his wife for the last 30 years of his life.
It is almost perfunctory to state that John Sharp had an exceptional and high-profile career that was of great distinction, was rewarded and defined by success, and was of major significance to the industry that he worked for and served. The facts however, speak for themselves and they convey the story of a lifetime's work that was punctuated by many notable and important achievements, and that was driven by almost immeasurable passion, commitment, and enthusiasm.
He worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry for nearly 20 years in the practice and management of chemical analysis, QA/QC, production, and distribution of most major categories of medicinal products and of the bulk production of a number of active substances. He joined the U.K. Medicines Inspectorate in 1971 and was promoted to Principal Inspector in 1972. In addition to his inspection duties, he compiled and edited the 1977 and 1983 editions of the U.K. Guide to Good Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Practice or "The Orange Guide," which later formed the basis for EC/EU GMP Guidelines.
After leaving the Inspectorate in 1985, he held appointments with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) as Project Manager then returned briefly to the Industry as Technical Director of Waverley Pharmaceutical. Then from 1987 he ran his own Pharmaceutical Consultancy Business.
He was the author of more than 70 published papers, books and manuals on many aspects of pharmaceutical technology and QA/QC etc. including three entire modules in the Manchester University Advanced Pharmaceutical Training Series and four modules in the ABPI NVQ Operator Training series. He also presented papers at technical, professional, and academic seminars and symposia in Britain, Continental Europe, Canada, the U.S., Africa and Asia. He was a member of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Parenteral and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and a referee for the U.S. Parenteral Drug Association's Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology.
He was an honours science graduate of London University, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (and for many years a member of the RSC's panel of assessors for qualified persons), an honorary member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (for services to Pharmacy in the field of GMP), a member of the Institute of Biology, a fellow of the Institute of Quality Assurance, an honorary life member of the Parenteral Society, and an honorary life member of the Pharmaceutical BFS Operators Association. In 1996 he received the U.S. PDA's Korcynski Award for international contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences. In 2003 he received the U.K. Parenteral Society's George Sykes Memorial Award for his paper on sterile products manufacture.
These are remarkable achievements for a man born as an only child into a working class and relatively poor family, who lost his father at a very young age, and through sheer grit, determination, ambition, and a thirst for knowledge, became perhaps one of the finest exponents of what our politicians now call 'Social Mobility'. But what of the man behind these career facts? He was a man of great principle with a strong and heartfelt sense of 'what is right and wrong' and for his family, was someone to whom you could reliably turn to as a moral and ethical barometer. These ingrained characteristics were both evident and pervasive throughout his career, during which he frequently challenged what he perceived to be the 'status quo' or 'the establishment' and he always put forward incisive, well informed, and well substantiated views and opinions. In doing this he, at the very least, gave cause for pause, and either triggered or implemented the need for review or change. His 'passionate' approach did not always win him friends or supporters in the industry but it would not be too unreasonable to say that even in retirement, he had become a self-appointed, independent 'watchdog' for matters pertaining to the Pharmaceutical Industry that were important to him, and that he believed with great conviction were important to the industry itself. This was a role that he continued (and was invited) to pursue without fear and with great resolve, right up to within two months of his death.
Outside of his career, he followed his recreational interests with an almost insatiable appetite, and with enormous devotion, passion and feeling. Classical Music, Rugby and Cricket in particular were more than just interests. They were a major part of what made him what he was, and without fail prompted an emotional response from him. He would forgive me for revealing that on occasion, a tear in his eye and a wavering voice would be apparent after hearing, for example, a performance of JS Bach's St Matthew Passion (and with good reason). He would also agree that his impassioned shouts during an England Rugby match, either to celebrate a try or berate a mistake, were 'features' of the viewing experience that added to the occasion and more than adequately conveyed his love of the game, and a healthy sense of patriotism. He also loved to read, and throughout his life, voraciously consumed hundreds of books. This enabled him to acquire an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of many things and this is something that was both rewarding for him, and from which the family benefited greatly. I recall watching episodes of the BBC Television series 'Mastermind' with him, when usually he answered most of the 'General Knowledge' questions correctly and often beat the contestants! I also remember the mild but thinly veiled egotism that emanated from him when this happened although this was something that also defined the man. They say "knowledge is power", for John Sharp it was as important as a beating heart.
As it is for many people, John Sharp's life was significantly shaped and characterised by his career. That career did not just make an impact in his family, in his town, or in his country, his impact was global. Due in part to his significant and lifetime contribution and influence, and to his great credit, the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of medicinal products is now more efficient, cleaner, more traceable, and as a consequence, much safer for the patient than it was and perhaps might be. Therefore, above all of his professional accreditations, awards, and recognitions, this is without doubt his greatest and most important achievement. Yet in achieving this, whilst he did gently covet a degree of modest recognition, he did not seek or pursue fame and fortune in his career, but was predominantly motivated by his sense of what is right, and what needed to be said and done. His life and his actions have left a firm and indelible imprint on the world, and that is a legacy that I and his family are extremely proud of.
John is survived by his wife, Doris Elizabeth Sharp, and his two sons Richard Simon Jonathan Sharp and Colin Stuart Jeremy Sharp.
As a final contribution to the wider 'healthcare' industry, to help train our 'doctors of the future' John took the decision to donate his body for medical and anatomical research, and this final wish has been fulfilled. As a consequence there will be no funeral; therefore the family is requesting that any donations in lieu of flowers be made directly to your chosen charity.