Founder of Eakin Healthcare Group, Tom Eakin, was among the first to receive a fellowship from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast on 22nd June, 2019. The School of Pharmacy Fellowship Programme recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.
Tom registered as a pharmacist in 1958, having chosen the profession because it was, in his words, ‘hands-on.’ His first job was as a superintendent Pharmacist subsequently led to his appointment as Chief Pharmacist at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, where he caused quite a stir on the maternity ward one lunch time after triggering a small explosion in the dispensary on the floor below.
Having gained experience in both hospital and community settings in Northern Ireland and Canada, Tom moved to Dundonald to manage his own pharmacy in 1960.
During the 1970s, Tom’s interest in formulation, lead him to focus on post-surgical difficulties for patients who had undergone stoma surgery. This work was prompted by the experience of a family member and the customers he met at the pharmacy.
Showing great determination and focus, four years of experimentation led to the development of a special polymeric film and barrier adhesive that would go on to transform the lives of ostomates across the globe and create a thriving, now international, business. But Tom’s invention was not limited to use on ostomates; surgeons realised a potential use in the treatment of open wounds, and he was asked to help with a seriously ill patient in the Belfast City Hospital which led to a new approach and the development of the Eakin Wound Pouches™.
TG Eakin Ltd now exports to 26 countries and continues to focus on innovation through its research and development department. Tom is still very much involved and is often seen in the lab working on new formulations and design projects when he not attending a “course” (with a ball and club).
He continues to encourage and support the research undertaken at the Queen’s University School of Pharmacy through the annual TG Eakin Prize for Distinction in Medicinal Substances, inspiring the next generation of pharmacy greats.