LOS ANGELES -- The printed information that is routinely packaged with prescription drugs sold in the United States had its beginnings with Jere Goyan, the first pharmacist to head the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Goyan died Jan. 17 at his home in Kingwood, Texas. He was 76.
As an educator and former dean of the School of Pharmacy at the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. Goyan had argued that patients should be informed about the drugs they take. As FDA commissioner from October 1979 to January 1981, he sought to make the practice of supplying information mandatory. The effort met with fierce political resistance and opposition from pharmacist organizations and drug companies.
"He pushed that at a time when it was complete heresy, when people felt the more [patients] know about drugs, the worse it was for them," said Robert Day, associate dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "He was a great leader."
Dr. Goyan's cause of death was not immediately known, Day said.
An Oakland native, Dr. Goyan received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 1952 and his doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry from UCSF in 1957. From 1956 to 1963 he taught at the University of Michigan School of Pharmacy, and in 1963 he joined the faculty of UCSF.
Colleagues credit Dr. Goyan with changing the way pharmacy is taught, establishing a pharmacy curriculum dedicated to training pharmacists to be drug therapy specialists, Day said. Such training, in which pharmacists are taught to consult with patients and advise doctors, contrasted sharply with earlier practices.
"He was truly a visionary," said Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "He was bold in his thinking and a very strong proponent of bringing the pharmacist into patient care."
In 1979, during the administration of President Carter, Dr. Goyan was chosen to head the FDA. He took a leave from UCSF to serve as commissioner. Dr. Goyan was an outspoken critic of what he saw as the overmedication of the US public.
After his tenure at the FDA ended, Dr. Goyan returned to UCSF and was dean of the pharmacy school until retiring in 1992.