Obituary: David Buckle, former PSNZ president

David Buckle was passionate about pharmacy and made a “phenomenal contribution” to the education of today’s pharmacists.

Former PSNZ chief pharmacist advisor Euan Galloway described David’s contribution to pharmacy as “phenomenal”.

“From his student days though to being honoured to receive the prestigious Whitechapel mortar and pestle, he served with distinction. New Zealand pharmacy owes a debt of gratitude to David Buckle for this.”

Former president John Berry described David as a “very strong friend”. “Very loyal.”

John said David was “very dedicated” to pharmacy.

“If he had to do something, he did it very well.”

David’s contribution to the Society started young. This contribution started from his time on the Pharmacy Students Association through service on the Auckland branch committee, including time as branch president, to his election to the society council.

In the 1950s, people training to be pharmacists did a four-year apprenticeship along with concurrent study. That was about 80 hours a week dedicated to learning. Then in the 1960s, David helped John establish an internship education programme. They were looking to provide people better education opportunities as at that time there was nothing for pharmacists between graduation and registration. “There was a vacuum.”

That internship programme was the first version of today’s PSNZ Intern Training Programme.

“We moved up and down the country visiting the Schools, helping graduates find positions and then running Internship seminars in the evenings.”

John acknowledged the support David’s family had provided and how that helped enable him to be able to achieve as much for pharmacy in New Zealand as he did.

David was the Society’s president from 1983 to 1986.

He was the Society’s Chief Executive and Registrar of the Pharmaceutical Society from 1989 to1994.

As Chief Executive, some of the events he guided the profession through included:

  • the consolidation of pharmacy teaching at Otago,
  • the rise and fall of the Pharmacy Bill,
  • the strategic plan of 1990 where the orientation of the Society changed from a statutory authority with professional interests to a professional body with statutory responsibilities,
  • the rescheduling of more prescription medicines to restricted medicines,
  • the rejuvenation of New Zealand Pharmacy journal,
  • and the publication of the Dispensing Guide.

In 1994, he was the recipient of the prestigious Whitechapel Mortar and Pestle for his services to pharmacy.

David was the Manager, Medicines Control at the Ministry of Health from 1994 to 2004.

He was a PSNZ Gold Medal recipient in 1995.

He died on March 21, 2024.