John Bell is a Practitioner/Teacher in Primary Health Care and Professional Services at the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney. He is also Corporate Relations Consultant to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA); and Principal Adviser to PSA’s Pharmacy Self Care Program.
John established the community pharmacy John Bell Pharmacist Advice in Oxford Street, Woollahra in 1969. He is still an active and senior partner in the practice which also provides medication management and clinical services to private hospitals and residential aged care facilities
John was National President of the PSA from 1987-1988 and President of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice from 1996-1998. From 2008 until 2010 he was Vice-President of the Pharmacy Practice Foundation of the University of Sydney.
John co-authored the PSA’s Dispensary Technicians Training Course and is one of the PSA’s approved trainers in the Standards of Practice for the provision of Pharmacist Only and Pharmacy Only medicines.
John has represented Pharmacy on a number of Australian Government Committees. He was a member of the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council’s “Health Care Committee” from 1985 to 1993 and deputy chairman from 1991 to 1993. He was a member of the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee from 1995 to 1999 and served continuously on the Poisons Advisory Committee of New South Wales from 1974 to 2013. John was a member of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council from 1998 to 2002 and has served as a member of the advertising Complaints Resolution Panel and as a member of the Medication Continuity Expert Advisory Group of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
John has been Board member of the Australian Medic Alert Foundation and of Diabetes NSW & ACT. He has also previously served on the Board of the Australian Tinnitus Association, on the Education Committee of Asthma NSW and as honorary pharmacist to the Coeliac Society. He is currently a member of the Global Pain Faculty and of the Global Respiratory Infection Partnership – an international multidisciplinary group established to address the issue of antibiotic resistance.
John has taken an active role in international pharmacy for more than 30 years.
He was Vice President of the Federation Internationale Pharmaceutique (FIP) from 2006 to 2014; and formerly President (1999-2003) and Secretary (2003-2007) of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA), the body which represents 43 national professional pharmacy organisations throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. During these terms of office John was a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Advisory Committee on Health which meets each year in Geneva prior to the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting and the World Health Assembly.
Between 1995 and 2007 John was a member of delegations to Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Zimbabwe and Zambia to consider and make recommendations on matters relating to pharmacy practice and public health. John has also acted as consultant to the Tiwi Health Board regarding pharmacy practice in remote indigenous communities in Australia. John was Chairman of the CPA/FIP/WHO Malaria Task Group which implemented consumer awareness programmes in developing Commonwealth countries.
From 1981, and for over 35 years, John presented a weekly, state-wide talk-back radio program “The Friendly Pharmacist” and from 1985 till 2013 wrote a weekly health column distributed to over 400 newspapers and magazines throughout Australia. He is still a regular contributor to radio and TV news and current affairs programs and to various print media.
He has been awarded Fellowships of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and the International Pharmaceutical Federation.
In 1990 he was awarded the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Association’s award for services to community pharmacy.
For services to pharmacy John was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1993.
In 2004 John received FIP’s highest pharmaceutical practice award - the Andre Bedat Award for services to international pharmacy practice. In 2009, at its biennial conference in Ghana, CPA presented John with the Albert Howells award for services to pharmacy in the Commonwealth.
At the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Annual Conference in 2017 John Bell was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the pharmacy profession and the community in Australia and internationally.
In 2019 John was honoured with Diabetes NSW and ACT's most prestigious honour – The Sir Kempson Maddox award for his “significant and lasting contribution to the field of diabetes”.