Our Story

From small beginnings, UMC has grown to become a major player in the worldwide endeavour for safer and more effective use of medicines

A long-term commitment to patient safety

We are dedicated to helping achieve safer use of medicines for patients everywhere, through the science known as pharmacovigilance. We are an independent, non-profit foundation, a centre for international scientific research, based in Sweden and closely associated with WHO. We are ambitious to help make the world a better place for patients and their communities.

A brief history

UMC was established in 1978 to support the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring. This started life as a global response to the thalidomide tragedy. The purpose was to collect information about the adverse effects of medicines from as many sources as possible across the world, to ensure that the first signs of possible danger from medicines would not be missed.

Since then, awareness of the need for pharmacovigilance has spread to a majority of the world’s countries. In most of them, systems for the monitoring of the safety and use of medicines are active and well established. UMC plays a significant role in the birth and development of these systems and in supporting them with a range of resources; the research team makes a major contribution to the development of theory and practice, and has led the world in the methodology of the science.

All this contributes to the drive to protect patients from harm and to help patients and health professionals make wise therapeutic decisions.

An in depth history

You can read a comprehensive history of UMC and our hopes and goals for the future in the book, Making Medicines Safer, released in 2018 for our 40th anniversary. The book was released alongside a film which you can watch below.

Read more