Dr. Claire E. Graham, 78, an independent chemical consultant in Washington since 1966, died of cardio-pulmonary failure Oct. 29 in his home in Washington.

He came to Washington in 1962 and worked four years as the American representative of the Huntingdon Research Centre of Huntingdon, England. Four years later he began working as a consultant to drug concerns in both chemical research and in dealings with U.S. agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Graham was an authority in the pharmaceutical fields of vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and blood substitutes. He was a member of the American Institute of Nutrition, the American Chemical Society, the Association of Vitamin Chemists, and the American Pharmaceutical Association.

He also belonged to the Civil War Round Table, Saint Andrew's Society of Washington, and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Dr. Graham was a native of Illinois. He was a 1925 graduate of the University of Illinois and earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1931.

He spent a year with the Illinois Agriculture Department and then worked for the pharmaceutical division of Wilson Laboratories in Chicago, where he was named research director in 1938, before coming to Washington.

He is survived by his wife, Verna, of the home; a daughter, Joan Graham, of Arlington, and a son, James, of Naperville, Ill.