Lennart Dencker, Professor of Toxicology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, EUFEPS Past President

 

EUFEPS has established Networks (“special interest groups”) on specific themes. They are all active, at different levels, depending on science needs, and e.g. the urgency in an area to react to ”environmental” changes, proposals for new guidelines by authorities, notably EMA, and so on.

It is fairly obvious, especially in times of financial hardship that scientists, not the least from industry, can afford to attend only meetings having a clear focus, such as those set up by the EUFEPS Networks. Another aspect is that Networks, having permanent steering committees, will maintain continuity. They can then also be more to the point as to programme design, finding innovative, new speakers, and avoid ”more of the same”.

Networks could easily join forces with other international networks, such as the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the Board of Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS) in FIP. This has, however, so far not happened to the extent foreseen, most likely because the BPS SIGs have recently been reorganised. We hope these kinds of collaborations will develop further in a near future.

The EUFEPS Research Network on Pharmacogenetics & Pharmacogenomics (formed 2006) was established in a time when the related research area became hot. Progress in this research area has, perhaps, been slower than anticipated, but it is very actively promoted by a steady and persistent Steering Committee.

The Network on Bioavailability and Biopharmaceutics (formed 2006) has, for example, set up a series of meetings focusing on new regulatory guidelines, the most resent one in June 2013 and responding within a short time frame. An immediate reaction, and sharp focus on issues being on the agenda, is thus another advantage of having EUFEPS Networks.

The QbD and PAT Science Network (formed 2004) is yet another one functioning in a similar way, and having established the EuPAT conference series (the 6th one in September 2013). New Networks, just now finding their form is one on Regulatory Science, urgently needed, and one on Nanomedicine as well.

The Network on Safety Sciences (formed 2004) is, for the moment, not active as such, since most of the original membership, having successfully promoted and prepared it, is presently engaged in the IMI SafeSciMET education and training project, as well as in research projects within the IMI, gathering key scientists in the safety area. This Network will certainly and eventually be resurrected, as deemed from the urgency of safety concerns of medicines.

There is also a Network on Environment and Pharmaceuticals (formed 2009, in parallel to a SIG by BPS). Although there is at least one other organisation (within The European Chemical Industry Council, CEFIC) dealing with these politically burning issues, this EUFEPS Network would see the problem from a slightly different angle, especially because of EUFEPS tradition of joining forces between scientists from academia, industry and regulatory agencies.

Last, a Network on Veterinary Medicines is being considered. In that field, there are delicate regulatory issues to deal with, as well as a need of more training of veterinary pharmacologists to better serve activities within pharmaceutical industry. Finding new modes of action and new chemical entities by academia for treatment of animals should furthermore be encouraged. The One Health initiative clearly calls for collaboration between pharmacologists across borders.

26Oct