Professor David Cowan BPharm, PhD, FRPharmS, co-founded the Drug Control Centre in 1978, and became its Director in 1990. He has published extensively in the field of pharmaceutical analysis especially as it relates to detecting drug administration in sport and was awarded a personal chair in pharmaceutical toxicology in 1996. He became head of the Department of Forensic Science and Drug Monitoring at King's College London in 2002.
He has served on a number of national and international committees including the Council of Europe Working Party investigating Drug Abuse in Sport that led to the first World Anti-Doping Convention; the Laboratory Representative on the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, and the World Anti-doping Agency’s Laboratory Accreditation sub-committee. He is a Member of the Crippen Club for Distinguished Toxicologists.
In 1998 he was awarded the IOC Trophy for Sport Ethics by the British Olympic Association. He was a founding member of the World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists and became its first President serving on its executive board between 2001 and 2004.
He was a Visiting Laboratory Director at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, where the first NESP positive was discovered. He was also a member of the IOC Medical Commission for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and the Turin Winter Olympic Games in 2006.
The Drug Control Centre undertook the sample analysis during the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and Professor Cowan was Co-Director of the laboratory for the Malaysian Games in 1998.