Department of Pharmacology – History

The foundations in pharmacology and therapeutics in the University system of Sri Lanka were laid by Professors Bibile, Kottegoda and Lionel. Their academic exellence was paralled by their diverse non-academic interests that enriched humanity. The international pharmacological community recognized the talents of Professors Bibile, Kottegoda and Lionel and several international organizations used the knowledge and experience of these three academics. As the contributions of Professor Bibile to our country had been highlighted in several fora we do not propose to delve in detail about them here. However the setting up of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation and shouldering the responsibitities in setting up and running the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya deserve special mention. The three stalwarts of the Department, Bibile, Kottegoda and Lionel are no longer with us. The present members of the Department wish to record their gratitude and indebtedness to these three teachers.

Mr. D A A Munasinghe was attached to our Department as a visiting lecturer in Pharmacy for over 35 years. The Department notes with deep regret his death in 1996. Mr. W Pathirana served the Department of Pharmacy from 2000 to 2009. We record with gratitude and affection the contribution made by Mr. Munasinge and Mr. W Pathirana to pharmacy education as well as to the Department of Pharmacology and their shining examples to the profession of pharmacy.

Over the years the Department has evolved into a Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Although there was emphasis in basic pharmacology and animal experiments in the initial years (fifties and sixties) now most of the teaching is about drugs in human systems. Thus trends are, in keeping with the changing trends in teaching pharmacology all over the world.

The Department is committed in teaching pharmacology and therapeutics to the medical students and in addition conducts the Internal Pharmacy course and contributes to the ophthalmic technologists course of the Ministry of Health. The Department assists the Ceylon Medical College Council by conducting the External Pharmacy examination. The Diploma in Pharmacy course was conducted from 1988 to 2000. One of the significant achievements of the Department is the start of a BSc (Pharmacy) special degree course in 1999/ 2000.The course is conducted jointly with the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. The Department also assists the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine in teaching activities and examinations of MD part I oncology, MD with Board certification in Clinical Pharmacology, MD Paediatrics, MSc in Toxicology , Diploma in Critical Care, Diploma in Family Medicine, Diploma in Reproductive Health and Diploma in Hospital Dental Practice. We are increasingly co-opted as teachers in various training programs of the Ministry of Health and other institutions. Our Department is assisting all the sister Faculties of Medicine in the island in conducting their examinations in pharmacology.

The Department is commited to the continuing education of the medical profession. The Department has published/ authored many books in this regard. Sri Lanka Hospitals Formulary (1994), Diabetes Hand book (2006/2007) in English, Tamil and Sinhala, Sri Lanka Drug Index (2009/2010), National List of Essential Medicines Sri Lanka (2009), Foundation in Pharmacology (2009), “Aushada Bhavithayata Athwelak”  A book written in Sinhala to guide, consumers on using medicines safely and effectively (2009), Sri Lanka Patients Formulary (2010), Insulin for diabetes (2010) in Sinhala. We continue to publish the Sri Lanka Prescriber on a quarterly basis. The Deprtment provides a drug information service to the medical profession. Practitioners may contact the Department and get advice on drugs and issues related to management of patients.The Department functions as the National Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Center.

Heads of the Department

Professor Senaka Bibile
1958 – 1968

Professor S.R. Kottegoda
1968 – 1970

Professor N.D.W. Lionel
1970 – 1982

Professor W.M.T. Weerasinghe
1983 – 1991

Professor G.H. Fernando
1991 – 1997

Professor K.Weerasuriya
1997 – 2003

Professor R.L. Jayakody
2003 – 2009

Professor R. Fernandopulle
2009 – 2010

Professor W.K. de Abrew
2010 – 2011

Professor Priyadarshani Galappatthy
2011 – 2017

Professor Shalini Sri Ranganathan
2017 – 2020

Professor Chamari Weeraratne
2020 – present