Keith Middleton (1951–2023)

On 18 January 2023, Keith Middleton, aged 71 years, of Ruislip, Middlesex. Mr Middleton was a former member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.


It is with very great sadness that we are writing about the recent death of Dr Keith Middleton. Keith was an intellectual and fount of all knowledge with respect to the manufacture of medicines in the hospital service.

Keith graduated from Bradford University and went onto study for a PhD on the antibacterial action of chloroquine. Following this, he undertook some post-doctoral studies at the Notre Dame University in Indiana.

On his return to the UK, he worked in Exeter before being appointed by Dr Peter Noyce to head up the research programme in the pharmacy at Northwick Park Hospital. At this time, Northwick Park was a newly built hospital, with research as a primary objective. The site housed a district general hospital and the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Research Centre (CRC). Consultants were appointed to practice in the local geographical area and continue their research interests within the CRC.

The pharmacy had a manufacturing unit and supported the manufacture of novel treatments for the CRC research programmes. This was an exciting place to work and develop novel medicines, some of which remain vital to patients with inherited metabolic disorders. NPH is the sole manufacturer of copper histidine injection to treat Menke’s syndrome. This treatment was developed by Keith in conjunction with the research team in the CRC.

Keith’s research also resulted in the development of sugar paste to treat skin ulcers. Research was undertaken in conjunction with a consultant microbiologist and was used extensively in the trust and throughout the UK. ITV televised the staff making sugar paste which was shown on their 6 o’clock news.

He was successful in obtaining funds to modernise the manufacturing unit. Further developments included the introduction of vitamin D solution in conjunction with a consultant paediatrician. Rickets was being identified in children and required a suitable treatment, which Keith was able to provide.

Keith was also well known for gas testing and supporting this vital and rare skill in London and the South East.

He was a recognised Qualified Person — a critical role to provide the quality assurance of medicines prior to release for human use.

Keith was a much-valued colleague, to whom I and others went for his knowledge and skills in the science of the manufacture of medicines.

He was a man with many talents outside the world of pharmacy. Keith had a number of hobbies, which included bell-ringing, caving, running the Harrow Half Marathon and playing bridge.

Keith had many friends, and was loyal and caring and took the time to help them, such as advising on building a bathroom and plumbing ,and buying tools and car accessories for a single mother.

Keith was greatly missed when he retired from Northwick Park. He was a wonderful, caring person, who would go to great lengths to help someone in need.

He leaves his wife, two sons and a granddaughter.

He will be greatly missed.

Christine Ward, Sarah Berg and Jean Blake

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, February 2023, Vol 310, No 7970;310(7970)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2023.1.175689

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