Last Saturday, February 29, 2020, died in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) at the age of 81 Sergio Erill Sáez (1938-2020), a pharmacologist who helped to consolidate clinical pharmacology in Catalonia and Spain in the 1970s. Aggregate Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1969-76), Professor of Pharmacology at the University of the Basque Country (1976-79) and the University of Granada (1979-83). He devised and directed the Dr. Antoni Esteve Foundation (1983-2008), the non-profit institution that the sons of Dr. Antoni Esteve Subirana decided to create to honor the memory of their father.
Sergio Erill drew on his experience with two international foundations to lay the Dr. Antoni Esteve Foundation. One of them, the English CIBA Foundation, was born “as a laboratory in which, instead of mixing products in test tubes, we will mix scientists in a room.” He decided to transfer that conception of scientific communication to the Foundation objectives. From his connection with the Juan March Foundation, he extracted the idea of forming an institution that did not merely act as a propaganda tool.
Erill trained in clinical pharmacology at Ann Arbor (United States, 1968-69), and was president of the National Commission for Clinical Pharmacology in Spain (1978-1981) and president of the National Commission for Pharmacovigilance (1987-1988). He was also an expert in drugs evaluation at the World Health Organization between 1983 and 1992. Between 1989 and 2003 he was the scientific director of Laboratorios Dr. Esteve SA. Since 2013 he was a member of the External Scientific Committee of the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears.
Author of more than 120 articles in international scientific journals, he was a member of the Editorial Board of prestigious publications such as Clinical Pharmacology Research, Drugs and Therapeutics Perspectives, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and Pharmacology and Toxicology. His concern for teaching and scientific dissemination led him to publish several books to bring science closer to society through the Dr. Antoni Esteve Foundation. Els medicaments i jo, for example, teach to the youngest the way the drugs work. He was also the promoter, along with Vladimir de Semir, of the first international symposium of scientific journalism held in Spain, held in 1990 in Barcelona.
His latest book, La ciencia oculta (The Hidden Science), compiles the trajectory of fifteen women who reached great milestones in the history of science. Precisely for her commitment to making the role of women scientists visible, in 2012 she received the ‘ad honorem’ partner diploma from the Asociación de Mujeres Investigadoras y Tecnólogas (Association of Women Researchers and Technologists) “for her determined support for the visibility of the work of women in science ”
Sergio Erill has been linked to the Dr. Antoni Esteve Foundation from its creation in 1983 to the present day, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. His charisma, way of being and excellent personal treatment have characterized him in his daily work, and we want to thank him from this institution. The President, Montserrat Esteve, as well as its Vice Presidents, Joan Esteve and Antoni Esteve, and the member, Joaquín Targa, the secretary and the members of the technical team want to express to Sergio’s family (Teresa, Nadina and Iván) their deep sorrow for the death of who was the ideologist of this institution and a leading scientist in the field of clinical pharmacology.