The Federation of European Pharmacological Societies

About Us

The Federation of European Pharmacological Societies (EPHAR) is a non-profit voluntary association between National Pharmacological societies in Europe. Its aim is to advance research and education in the Science of Pharmacology and to promote co-operation between European researchers.

History of EPHAR

EPHAR was founded at the XIth International Congress of Pharmacology in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in 1990. The foundation was prepared by a steering committee headed by Börje Uvnäs, who described the efforts of the committee, its composition as well as the considerations and discussions preceeding its establishment in the following report dated May 7, 1990:

"The idea of a European union of pharmacologists is not new. It was up for discussion at least as early as the fifties and the late Corneille Heymans and myself frequently discussed the possibility of forming some kind of a common organisation for European pharmacologists. Since then the idea has been raised several times and in fact been seriously considered at several group meetings. However, the enthusiasm has always faded away, mainly I think due to lack of support from the big national societies that felt self-sufficient and did not share the small and weaker societies need for increased international contact. And then came the formation of IUPHAR. The need for a special European co-ordinating organisation lost its relevance for some time. However, time has caught up with the federation idea. Today's effort to unite European economical and political forces in competition with the world at large has found its counterpart in the current formation of European scientific federations. Since long we have a federation of biochemists, the physiologists are forming their federative organisation and we have already a superior co-ordinating organisation of sorts in the European Union of Societies of Experimental Biology (EUSEB). I have for many years had a dream, that a meeting of a European federation be organised with successful American federation meetings as models worth copying.

Pharmacology has developed into a multifaceted discipline extending from molecular biology at one end to clinical pharmacology at the other. This enormous expansion has taken place during the past 10–20 years and left many of us behind, in ignorance about the necessity of collaborative efforts within all branches of biological sciences in the development and analysis of new drugs. The success in pharmacology will depend on the pharmacologists ability to acquire the new knowledge and utilise the new tools available, in the efforts to extend pharmacological research into the new domains conquered within the biological sciences. In other words, our goal is to create new generations of pharmacologists with an analytical and broadminded attitude towards important aspects of modern medical biological sciences.

On the initiative of Professor Rodolfo Paoletti representatives for the European national pharmacological societies were invited to Milano for discussions about the possibilities of the formation of a European federation of pharmacologists. Eighteen national societies had sent representatives to the meeting, which took place in Milano February 6, 1988. The discussions resulted in the formation of a Steering Committee of six members. After some replacements during the past years the Steering Committee consists at present of the following seven members:

Alasdair Breckenridge (UK), Flaminio Cattabeni (Italy), Gilles Fillion (France), Ove A. Nedergaard (Denmark), Rodolfo Paoletti (Italy), Hasso Scholz (Germany), Börje Uvnäs (Sweden).

Börje Uvnäs was elected chairman and Flaminio Cattabeni secretary.

The Steering Committee should work out tentative statutes and an educational programme for the nearest future.

Statutes proposed by the Committee were accepted by a meeting of 19 national delegates in Milan April 8, 1989. At a meeting of the Steering Committee at Mannheim July 26, 1989 it was further decided that a Newsletter be produced by the secretariat in Milano headed by Flaminio Cattabeni. The newsletter should be distributed to ail national societies in Europe informing about the activities of the national societies, international activities of interest to European pharmacologists eye.

As a result of the activity of the Steering Committee a first educational symposium was held in Milano on February 7–9, 1990 with the title "Molecular Biology in Pharmacology". This first symposium attracted more than 100 young pharmacologists from all of Europe and was considered a great success.

It is my hope that a federation of European pharmacologists will further the development of a European scientific community without national barriers and foster a more intimate relationship between our European national societies and their members.

Ultimately a new generation of European pharmacologists will with common efforts fight in the scientific frontlines and make use of current developments to the benefit of pharmacology and the pharmaceutical industry."

The ideas expressed in this report are still valid.

Since its establishment in 1990 the aim of EPHAR was to advance research and education in Pharmacology and related sciences and to promote co-operation between National/Regional Pharmacological Societies in Europe. EPHAR was recognized as an affiliate member of IUPHAR in 1994.

In addition, the statutes of EPHAR, approved at its foundation, established that the affairs of the Federation are conducted by a Council, formed by representatives nominated by each Society, and by an Executive Committee. The first President, R. Paoletti (Italy), the first Scientific Secretary, F. Cattabeni (Italy) and the first Executive Committee consisting of 4 personalities were in office until 1997. Members of the first Executive Committee were W.C. Bowman (UK), G. Fillion (France), H. Scholz (Germany), and H.A.J. Struijker-Boudier (The Netherlands).

Since 1990, the Federation has sponsored important scientific events. In particular, EPHAR has contributed in the organization of residential courses with a restricted number of participants ("Molecular Biology in Pharmacology", Milan, 1990; "Neuroimmunomodulation in Pharmacology", Paris, 1992; "Electrophysiology in Pharmacology", London, 1993). Courses are addressed to biomedical scientists willing to improve their knowledge in specific fields of pharmacology and related sciences. Moreover, the Federation has sponsored a number of "EPHAR Lectures" held in occasion of joint meetings of member Societies.

The most important scientific events established by the Federation are the EPHAR Congresses. They included plenary lectures, symposia, round tables, oral and poster communications devoted to the most recent advances in pharmacology and related sciences and therefore represented the adequate forum for discussing preclinical, clinical and therapeutic data. Particular emphasis was given to the impact of biotechnologies on drug development and to the identification of novel pharmacological approaches to incurable diseases. Sessions were also held on the relationship between science and society in Europe, with particular reference to drug registration, strategies for research funding and training of pharmacologists.


Administrative Secretariat

Via Giovanni Pascoli 3, 20129 Milan, Italy

T: +39 02 29520311