Select Page

Clinical Pharmacology in Research, Teaching, and Health Care

This position paper on the roles of clinical pharmacology in health care, teaching and research was drafted, edited and published by representatives of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS).

The document sets the scene for clinical pharmacology in the early part of the 21st Century following the concepts set forth in an earlier report by the World Health Organization in 1970. It lays out in detail the broad scope of clinical pharmacology and the great benefits that the discipline can bring to the delivery of better health care for all populations. The document is essentially a clinical pharmacology manifesto which will inspire young physicians and other health professionals to pursue a career which provides the opportunity to improve drug therapy by making it safer, as well as more effective and cost-effective. The document also alerts decision makers in governments and ministries of health, primary and secondary care organizations and the pharmaceutical industry to the need to develop clinical pharmacology and the rational use of medicines (RUM) for the benefit of their organizations.

Copies of the publication and curricular addenda can be accessed at:

  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS)
  • An earlier draft was published in Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2010;107(1):531-59. Birkett D, Brøsen K, Cascorbi I, Gustafsson LL, Maxwell S, Rago L, Rawlins M, Reidenberg M, Sjöqvist F, Smith T, Thuerman P, Walubo A, Orme M, Sjöqvist F. Clinical pharmacology in research, teaching and health care: Considerations by IUPHAR, the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2010.00602.x.
  • Translations: Russian, KoreanJapanese

Addendum 1: Model Core Curriculum for Clinical Pharmacology,Therapeutics and Prescribing for Medical Students
This addendum provides a list of knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes relevant to the use of drugs that should be core content in the undergraduate medical curriculum. These represent key learning outcomes that will enable all graduates to prescribe safely and effectively at the point of graduation. The core objectives are generic and applicable to most areas of therapeutics. They should be considered in association with a relevant list of core drugs and therapeutic problems to which they apply. Medical schools should be encouraged to identify lists that are appropriate for their local circumstances. For each drug, graduates should be expected to have an understanding of the mechanism of action, recognise the appropriate indications for use, know the appropriate routes of administration, and know the important contra-indications and adverse effects.

Addendum 2: Model Curriculum for Medical Specialisation in Clinical Pharmacology
A medical clinical pharmacologist is a physician with an advanced knowledge of pharmacology and the skills needed to achieve the quality use of medicines in individual patients and in the population at large. The former may include the direct care of patients and also includes consultations on patients with complex drug problems such as therapeutic failure, adverse drug reactions and drug interactions. This pattern will vary from country to country. Improving drug therapeutics more broadly includes, but is not limited to, work on drug development, drug utilisation (both analysis of current practices and research on ways to improve it), teaching and providing information about drug therapy, working in Drug and Therapeutics committees from local (hospital formulary) to regional, national, and international organisations, and other problems that arise during the practice of clinical pharmacology. This Model Curriculum is designed to enable the aspiring clinical pharmacologist to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to carry out this professional activity in an efficient and satisfying way. It is deliberately set to be broadly based and thus applicable to as many countries as possible.

Translation into other languages
The book is published in English but our organizations (IUPHAR, WHO, and CIOMS) are interested in having it translated into other appropriate languages and invite proposals to do so. To ensure the integrity and quality of the translations, the following guidelines have been established:

  1. The process will be coordinated by the Secretary of the IUPHAR Division of Clinical Pharmacology
  2. Approval of CIOMS, WHO and IUPHAR will be obtained through the Secretary of the Division
  3. An appropriate member society of IUPHAR will take overall responsibility for the translation
  4. The responsible society will appoint an appropriate individual to oversee the translation
  5. The responsible society and the individuals involved will be acknowledged in the translated version
  6. The translated document will contain in a prominent position the words “This publication is a translation of the only authentic official version published in English. This translation has been produced by the (Name of Society). We gratefully acknowledge (names of individuals) who have contributed to the translation”
  7. CIOMS will supply the electronic version of the cover for adaptation to the translated text
  8. The member society will be responsible for any costs associated with the translation, publishing and distribution of the translated version. IUPHAR, CIOMS and WHO may at their discretion provide links to the translated version on their websites.

If your society is interested in developing a translation, please contact the Secretary-General, David LeCouteur at or

The IUPHAR Compendium of Basic Principles for Pharmacological Research in Humans

The “IUPHAR Compendium of Basic Principles for Pharmacological Research in Humans” is the 4th volume in the highly acclaimed series of research compendia published by the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR). The objective of this compendium is to provide the scientific community interested in human research with an easy-to-use guide on how to design a research protocol with humans aiming to assess the effectiveness of a drug in a determined pathological condition or for drug development.


About the Editors

Patrick du Souich, MD, PhD,</strong is a professor and the director of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Montréal, Canada.

Sergio Erill, PhD, is the director of the Esteve Group, Spain. He has been Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at two different Spanish universities, and President of the Spanish Society for Pharmacology.

Michael Orme, PhD, is the former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Liverpool, He is also Director of Education and Training for the NW Region of England and President of the European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, which he helped found in 1983.

“The IUPHAR Compendium of Basic Principles for Pharmacological Research in Humans” is copyright © International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

The Compendium can be accessed at .