Royal honour for Ton de Boer

Emeritus Professor named Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau

Upon his retirement from Utrecht University, Prof. Ton de Boer was appointed Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau. De Boer is renowned for his scientific contributions in the field of Clinical Pharmacology, his many administrative positions and the way he explains pharmaceutical research and use to society at large.

Ton de Boer and Mayor Tjapko Poppens of Amstelveen
Ton de Boer was appointed an Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau by Tjapko Poppens, Mayor of Amstelveen. Image: Erik van Rosmalen/CBG

De Boer received his honour in the afternoon following his farewell address in the Domkerk in Utrecht from Tjapko Poppens, Mayor of his home town of Amstelveen. Poppens described De Boer as ‘an excellent scientist and extraordinary lecturer’.

Effectiveness and safety of medicines

As Professor of Pharmacotherapy and former head of the Pharmaceutical Sciences department at Utrecht University, for decades Ton de Boer played an important role in  scientific research into the effectiveness and safety of medicines, and the use of medicines to treat common conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In the field of education, Prof. De Boer was a driving force behind an interdisciplinary approach to encourage innovation and talent, and he displayed an immense interest in his students. He fulfilled his academic duties with extraordinary personal service.

Societal impact

Since 2017, De Boer has served as the President of the Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG-MEB). This position is one with significant impact on society: the MEB is responsible for approving medicines and vaccines to the market, monitoring the side effects and other risks, and encouraging the proper use of medications. At De Boer’s initiative, the MEB began issuing Medicijn in het kort: accessible information sheets about pharmaceuticals explaining their effects using easy-to-understand language and pictograms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, De Boer also played an important role in the media to communicate that the vaccines were subjected to the same critical review standards as other medicines. By being open and honest about what scientists knew - and didn’t know - he built confidence among the public.

Board membership and advice

De Boer was and is actively involved as a board member of various professional associations of pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists. He advocates for high-quality post-academic education, independent of third parties such as the pharmaceutical industry. De Boer also plays a role in evaluating and granting project proposals as part of the ZonMw grant programme Goed Gebruik Geneesmiddelen. He was also a member of the Scientific Advisory Council at Zorginstituut Nederland, and a senior editor of the prestigious British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Foundation for eye care in Southeast Asia

Prof. De Boer’s decisiveness and unwavering energy is also illustrated in his work as co-founder of Asian Eye Care, a foundation that offers ophthalmological care in Southeast Asia. The foundation trains doctors, conducts eye surgery and provides funding to improve ophthalmological facilities.