Semmelweis University organised and held the European meeting of the International Federation of Associations of Pharmaceutical Physicians (IFAPP), representing around 7,000 pharmaceutical development professionals, concerning the topic of pharmaceutical medicine. The event was especially significant because it was hosted in the same year as the Hungarian Pharmaceutical Medicine Section’s establishment in the framework of the Hungarian Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, which was made possible by the University’s educational specialization in the past ten years.
Pharmaceutical medicine is a scientific specialization related to the research, development, evaluation, registration, control and clinical aspects of pharmaceutical drug distribution. The Hungarian Pharmaceutical Medicine Section was founded with 50 members this year at Semmelweis University, facilitated by the Cooperative European Medicine Development Course (CEMDC) made possible by the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy. IFAPP, or the International Federation of Associations of Pharmaceutical Physicians, consists of national associations from 30 countries and represents approximately 7,000 drug development professionals, almost half of whom are physicians in the pharmaceutical industry or researchers in pharmaceutical medicine but do not hold a medical degree. The two-day meeting held at Semmelweis University focused on pharmaceutical drug development.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Péter Ferdinandy, Vice-Rector for Scientific Affairs and Innovation, expressed his joy that the University could host the international event, thus increasing its prestige in the area of pharmaceutical research. Our goal is to become one of the top 100 universities in the world; to achieve this we need to expand both our scientific and educational activities, and this event also contributes to our goal, he said. The vice-rector, who is also the director of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy of the University, as well as the Chair of the Hungarian Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, said that four courses of education have been organized within the CEMDC over the past decade, and 60 students have graduated in pharmaceutical medicine, whose future professional work made necessary the establishment and the joining of a domestic scientific organization in international cooperation. He thanked Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius, Scientific Advisor of the Department of Pharmacological and Pharmacotherapy, IFAPP Executive Director and the official host of the event, who was actively involved in the establishment of the Hungarian Pharmaceutical Medicine Section and in organizing the event.
Dr. Péter Ferdinandy emphasized that it was a great honor to have the IFAPP to organize its regional event in Hungary, to which several other newly formed national member organizations accepted the invitation. “I am sure that the event will create a strong European partnership in this important discipline”, he said.
At the opening of the two-day conference, Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius emphasized that pharmaceutical medicine development, as any scientific discipline, should be taught on a scientific basis, as only this can guarantee the training of high-quality professionals. He added that an international alliance can only work well if there is strong regional cooperation between its members, and hopes that the current European meeting will be the beginning of such a cooperation.
Dr. Honorio Silva, former president of IFAPP, and the organizer of the current event recalled that this was the IFAPP’s first meeting concerning pharmaceutical drug development in four years. The purpose of this event was to discuss the progress made over the past few years, to formulate IFAPP’s action plan in the coming years, and to analyze the factors that help or hinder the spread of pharmaceutical drug development as a profession and as a discipline, with particular emphasis on education, certification and the foundation of their own professional identity.
In his interview with our webpage, Dr. Honorio Silva emphasized that the organization of this year’s event to be in the same year as the establishment of the Hungarian Section is especially thanks to the hard work of Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius, Dr. Péter Ferdinandy and the Hungarian training programme organized by Semmelweis University. “This year, in addition to Hungary, a national section was formed in several other countries, including France, Romania and Poland” – he added.
In regards to Semmelweis University’s role in cooperation, he said that the IFAPP has invested heavily into developing strategic partnerships with university institutions in relation to educational training and pharmaceutical drug development. “We are very pleased to be able to work with Semmelweis and other universities to develop educational training”, he added.
Around 60 experts attended the meeting, including IFAPP past and present Presidents, and representatives of 17 European national organizations. The main points of the program included an overview of the work of IFAPP, the expected competencies of pharmaceutical scientists, the overview of the work of national postgraduate courses, the comparison and recognition of the various nations’ degrees and diplomas they provide, the overview of the work of the European member organizations and the development of a common “best practice”.
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Faye Gillespie