ESPRIT Group profile

History and Background

The ESPRIT Group is committed to ensuring effective and safe treatment of transplant patients. The Group first came together in 2000 to educate healthcare professionals and patients on the importance of appropriate brand prescribing, the first focus being on the immunosuppressant ciclosporin.

Whilst the initial focus was on ciclosporin, attention has subsequently turned to a range of other immunosuppressants including tacrolimus and the mycophenolates – where similar issues exist – and indeed to various other areas that have the potential to impact the wellbeing of transplant patients.

The Group is a multidisciplinary one, currently comprising:

  • A leading clinical pharmacologist, Professor Atholl Johnston
  • A transplant surgeon Steve Pollard (liver and kidney)
  • A paediatric hepatologist, Indra Van mourik
  • A consultant nephrologist, Michelle Webb
  • A specialist renal pharmacist, Heather Black
  • A paediatric hepatologist and consultant in intestinal reconstruction and transplantation, Jonathan Hind
  • A transplant co-ordinator Dawn Chapman (renal and pancreas)
  • A renal transplant nurse clinician, Jane Moberly
  • A paediatric liver clinical nurse specialist, Jenny Yerlett
  • An Informatics Pharmacist, Jeremy Power
  • A medical writer and renal transplant recipient, Sue Lyon
  • A GP with special interest, Phil Dommett

The Group is keen to involve other interested healthcare professionals and, indeed, to focus on a broad range of prescribing issues affecting transplant patients.


The ESPRIT Group has carried out a number of activities so far, including notably:

  • Production of in-depth reviews of the evidence base surrounding appropriate brand prescribing, and associated recommendations
  • Production of educational resources for healthcare professionals and patients, including communication packs for hospitals, patient leaflets and cards plus clinic posters
  • Maintenance of a central website to allow news and resources to be downloaded and queries posted – see
  • Liaison and collaboration with various official bodies regarding recommendations and guidelines on appropriate brand prescribing and in use of immunosuppressants generally in transplant patients
  • Having a presence at key conferences relevant to transplant care, to help communicate the core messages to colleagues
  • Various publications and presentations


The ESPRIT Group is a totally legally-independent body, ESPRIT Partnership Ltd., a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 6971971. It has two directors, these being Atholl Johnston and Steve Pollard. As a legally-independent entity, the ESPRIT Group is open to support by any relevant interested party. It initially received sole funding from Novartis Pharma UK Ltd., albeit the activities and recommendations themselves were always carried out with complete professional independence. However, the Group has now also received support from Astellas Pharma Ltd., Mylan, Sandoz Ltd. and Chiesi and has been in discussions with various parties to spread its base of supporters, both with regard to the basic organisation and for work on project-related activities, as appropriate. We would be happy to discuss any potential work which could provide mutual benefit to all parties – with the caveat that the core focus must be on efficacy and safety of treatment for transplant patients.

The Group’s work is co-ordinated by Julia Cook, currently an independent healthcare consultant, who has previously worked in medical departments in the pharmaceutical industry and as the head of a medical communications company, where she spearheaded the formation of the ESPRIT Group. As such she has been involved with the Group’s professional activities since its inception.