IUPHAR was founded in 1959 as a section of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and became an independant organization in 1965.
IUPHAR is a voluntary, non-profit association of national organizations representing pharmacologists of member countries and regional associations. The present membership includes 55 national pharmacology societies, regional pharmacology associations in various parts of the world and a number of other scientific organizations with goals related to those of IUPHAR. IUPHAR also accepts associate and corporate members. IUPHAR represents all aspects of pharmacology in its broadest sense, from theoretical to clinical pharmacology, worldwide.
IUPHAR is a member of ICSU, and participates in the work of its scientific committees. The Union receives international recognition, particularly by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) and is a non-governmental organization in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The principle objectives of IUPHAR are:
- advocating cooperation between societies that represent pharmacology throughout the world
- sponsoring international and regional meetings and helping in their organization
- encouraging international coordination and free exchange of scientists and ideas in research
- facilitating the interaction of pharmacologists and other branches of science
- helping in the development of pharmacology throughout out the world
- promoting programmes of public awareness on pharmacological issues
In pursuit of these objectives, IUPHAR sponsors a series of international congresses, organizes tours for visiting professors, creates specialized teaching programmes, and promotes pharmacology within selected international and national agencies. The IUPHAR website includes pharmacology teaching aides in multiple languages and links to pharmacology curricula worldwide.
The IUPHAR Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification (NC-IUPHAR) has published a series of volumes, including The IUPHAR Compendium of Receptor Characterization and Classification and The IUPHAR Compendium of Voltage-gated Ion Channels.