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ABOUT IUPHAR: Introduction

Last updated 3 October 2012


Founded in 1959 as a section of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) has been independent since 1965.   The name was changed to the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology in 2006 to better reflect the composition of the membership.

IUPHAR is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and participates in the work of its scientific committees. It receives international recognition, particularly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

IUPHAR is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in official relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

IUPHAR is a voluntary, non-profit association representing the interests of pharmacologists around the world. According to its statutes, IUPHAR has Full Members (i.e. national societies), Associate Members, Benefactors, and Corporate Members.


The Mission: Better Medicines through Global Education and Research

The main objectives of IUPHAR are to foster international cooperation in pharmacology by:

promoting cooperation between societies that represent pharmacology and related disciplines throughout the world; sponsoring international and regional congresses and meetings, and helping in their organization by establishing advisory committees; encouraging international coordination and free exchange of scientists and of ideas in research, adhering to the ICSU Statute 6 concerning non-discrimination without regard to race, religion, political philosophy, ethnic origin, citizenship, language or gender; acting as a body through which pharmacologists can participate with other branches of science in international activities, either directly or under the aegis of international scientific bodies such as ICSU, WHO and UNESCO; helping in all ways the development of pharmacology throughout the world; promoting programmes of public awareness on pharmacological issues.


IUPHAR is governed by the Council, composed of delegates appointed by the members, division and sections, which holds its General Assembly at each World Congress of Pharmacology.

The Council elects an Executive Committee consisting of a President, First and Second Vice-Presidents, a Secretary-General, a Treasurer, five Councillors, and representatives from the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. The Executive Committee meets annually and is responsible for both the general and scientific administration of IUPHAR.

There is also a Membership Committee, which reviews all applications for membership of IUPHAR and forwards its recommendations to the Executive Committee for approval at its annual meeting.

The Nominating Committee is responsible for soliciting from the members names of individuals who they feel should serve on the next Executive Committee. This committee makes its recommendations to the Council every four years.

The financial records of IUPHAR are approved each year by an external auditor then two internal auditors, the latter of which are elected by the Council.

The scientific activities of IUPHAR are progressed by experts in the major experimental and clinical areas of the discipline. These areas are covered by divisions, sections and committees, which have a certain degree of autonomy but report to both the Executive Committee and the Council.

IUPHAR currently has one Committee:

The IUPHAR Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification (NC-IUPHAR)

six Sections:

Section on Drug Metabolism and Drug Transport
Section on Gastrointestinal Pharmacology

Section on Natural Products
Section on Education
Section on Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology
Section on Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics

and one Division:

Division on Clinical Pharmacology

which has four subcomittees:

Clinical Pharmacology in Less Developed Countries
Drug Development, Clinical Trials & Regulation

Drug Utilization & Pharmacoepidemiology
Geriatrics (under development)


IUPHAR has its own publishing program, through which the newsletter, directory and scientific compendia are published.

The newsletter, Pharmacology International, is published every June and December. The IUPHAR Member Directory is maintained continually, as an online resource. The scientific compendia are published on-line.

IUPHAR also provides the IUPHAR Receptor Database, a major on-line repository of characterisation data for receptors and drugs, and the IUPHAR Ion Channels Database.

Official Reports from The IUPHAR Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification are published in Pharmacological Reviews. A list of all the nomenclature publications is available on this website.


Effective in 2010 IUPHAR will hold a joint congress every four years of basic and clinical pharmacology. National society members may make a bid at the General Assembly to host these congresses. For more information, visit IUPHAR Meetings .