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Giampaolo Velo

Edoardo Spina

In memoriam: Professor Giampaolo Velo (1943-2017)

The field of clinical pharmacology has lost one of its pioneers. On August 17, 2017 Giampaolo Velo, cofounder and former chairman of EACPT, died after a period of illness in Verona, Italy.


His research activity started from experimental pharmacology, in particular the area of inflammation, and then gradually moved to clinical pharmacology, expanding his interests to pharmacovigilance, drug information and ecopharmacovigilance.


Prof. Velo was secretary of the Italian Society of Pharmacology (SIF) from 1988 to 1992, chairman of the Section of Clinical Pharmacology of SIF (1994-1996 and 2003-2007) and councilor of IUPHAR, Clinical Pharmacology Division (1992-2000). Cofounder of EACPT, he was vice Chairman (1995-1999) and then Chairman (1999-2003). He was also president of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP) from 2003 to 2006. He was the organizer of CPT 2000-Seventh Conference on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Fourth Congress of the European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, held in Florence, July 2000.


Giampaolo was curious, ironic and full of a contagious enthusiasm, but also accurate and scrupulous if needed. We can never forget the scientific events he organized over many years in the beautiful village of Erice, Sicily, as director of the Ettore Maiorana Foundation, in a friendly and collegial atmosphere. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Giulia, his son Stefano, and his daughters Stefania and Elisabetta. EACPT will miss you.


A cura di Roberto Leone


Giampaolo Velo was born on April 1943 and left us on August 17 2017.

Graduated with honours in Medicine (University of Bologna), after a period in UK working with John Vane in in prostaglandins and inflammation he came back to Italy becoming full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Verona (in that period associated to Padova). He was the director of the Institute of Pharmacology of the University of Verona and the director of the Clinical Pharmacology Unit of the Verona University Hospital.

He and his group started the activity in pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology in the 80’s, becoming rapidly the most important group in pharmacovigilance in Italy. The Institute of Pharmacology was the first Regional Centre of Pharmacovigilance in Italy and since 1995 Reference Centre for Education and Communication within the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring. For some years in the 90’s, due to the lack of connection between the Italian National Agency and the UMC the Verona group represented Italy in the WHO Programme, sending report to Vigibase from Veneto and some other Italian regions. Professor Velo attended many WHO annual meetings and was member of the UMC Signal review panel.

Over the years Velo and his group were actively involved in many projects and had scientific collaboration with important group working in pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiogy worldwide.

Professor Velo was the founder and the director of the International School of Pharmacology at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture (EMFCSC) in Erice, Sicily.

International School of Pharmacology organized workshops regarding various internationally discussed topics, such as prostaglandins and inflammation, the safe use of drugs, drug innovation, medication errors, communication regarding drugs, patient safety, and many others.

The Erice School was very typical of Velo. Wonderful place in a pre-mediaeval town, high scientific level of the discussion, but very high collegiality, informal and even goliardic atmosphere.

Brief reports regarding many of the workshops held in Erice have been published on international scientific journals such as BJCP and Drug Safety, and could, therefore, have a good diffusion. The most important documents in pharmacovigilance were probably the The Erice Declaration on Communicating Drug Safety Information (September 1997) and the Erice Manifesto (July 2006). These two documents have been discussed and updated during a new meeting in Erice in September 2016, the last organized by professor Velo (already ill but still active).

Professor Velo was deeply involved in many scientific societies. Among these he was a cofounder, chairman and then honorary president of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacology (EACPT), and president (2003-2006) and then honorary member of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP). He was also organizers and president of many important international meetings as well as member of the editorial board of many scientific journals.

Since 1994 he was founder and Editor in Chief of the bulletin FOCUS Farmacovigilanza, member of the International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB).

In the last years and even after the retirement in 2012 he was actively working in a new field, ecopharmacovigilance, the adverse effect of drugs in the environment. The term ecopharmacovigilance was first coined by him in 2007.

Great passion and curiosity for all the topics related to clinical pharmacology, untired worker and traveller, he was also known for his kindness, informality and great sense of humour. He knew almost everyone in our field and he was a friend for almost everyone.

We have been working together for more than 30 years, we will remember him fondly forever.

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