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The Section of Pharmacology

According to a generally accepted definition, Clinical Pharmacology as a discipline is the science of drugs and their clinical use. One of the most outstanding and fascinating features of our discipline is the fact that it spans the entire spectrum from basic science to clinical applications and work with patients and colleagues from other medical specialisations. Clinical Pharmacology as a medical discipline, however, cannot be defined as one of the two ends of this spectrum alone, but as a profession tying these two together and thus improving our understanding of drug actions and to promote the safety of the use of drugs in clinical situations.

UEMS, the European Union of Medical Specialists[1] has set up the Section of Pharmacology in 2016. The scope of our Section will be to support medical specialists in Pharmacology within the European context.

A recent survey, conducted by the Section of Pharmacology, has determined that Pharmacology is a recognised and legally regulated medical specialty in the vast majority of the UEMS member countries (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). However, current training regulations vary from stand-along specialties with length of training ranging from 4 years or longer to additive or sub-specialties with abbreviated training.

While in most of the surveyed member countries, our specialty in named “Clinical Pharmacology” (or similar) by the respective national regulations, the UEMS Section, for the time being, retains the name “Pharmacology” as this is the denomination given to our specialty in Annex V of the “Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council”[2].

Today, mobility of professionals, even in the medical professions, is becoming ever more important. However, the highly diverse training requirements that have evolved ‘historically’ in Europe in all medical specialties pose a severe hindrance to such a mobility. Consequently, all specialist Sections of UEMS currently engage in initiatives to harmonise training requirements throughout Europe in order to ensure that patient care, whether in clinical or outpatient settings, can be furthered and brought to the highest possible standards — and our Section of Pharmacology will not be an exception.

As our discipline by its very nature is deeply rooted in world of Science (both experimental and clinical), it will be of high importance to engage in close collaboration also with the respective European scientific organisations in our discipline, i. e. EACPT[3] and EPHAR[4].


1. UEMS, Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes. http://www.uems.eu
2. Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32005L0036
3. EACPT, The European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. http://www.eacpt.eu
4. EPHAR, The Federation of European Pharmacological Societies. http://www.ephar.org