Who we are and how we work

From our modest origins, with a tiny staff and punch-card data processing in 1978, we’ve become an influential player in worldwide contemporary pharmacovigilance.

From small beginnings

Our team now consists of over a hundred people: pharmacists, doctors, researchers, system developers, sales and marketing staff, coding specialists, communications and product specialists, support staff, all in expert teams: global pharmacovigilance, research, information technology, communications, sales and marketing, finance and administration.

Their professional aim in life is to support member countries of the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring and to develop pharmacovigilance as an ever-improving instrument for the protection of patients. Please find the staff list here

Career page

Adventurous and independent

The important worldwide work of supporting the WHO Programme is financed solely by the selling of products related to global pharmacovigilance to external bodies and through some service fees. These sources of income ensure our intellectual and scientific independence, sustainability and freedom to pursue our vision. We receive no other funding from any external source - WHO, the Swedish Government, commercial interests or member countries of the WHO Programme - except for specific project grants.

Our talented research team, who have won international recognition, have extended the boundaries of knowledge in several fields, most notably in disproportionality analysis, scanning and analysis of large databases, and identifying risks in the search for signals of potential harm from medicines. The team carries out research in all areas of UMC’s activity, such as safety signal detection, data management, information technology, and pharmaceutical informatics including the dictionaries of WHODrug. There’s a full account of their work here.

Staff are constantly out and about, in the far corners of the world, talking, teaching and finding out what member countries want in the way of support and resources. They’re at conferences and meetings, presenting UMC’s work, listening and learning about what is going on around the world. They are involved in the development of worldwide policy and practice in groups such as CIOMS, ICH, ISoP and the Erice communications process.

We provide data, reference, consultative and training resources to medicines agencies, health professionals, researchers and to the pharmaceutical industry all over the world.


UMC is a WHO Collaborating Centre, one of five dedicated to pharmacovigilance. Please read more about Collaborating Centres here


The operations of UMC as a WHO Collaborating Centre are governed by an agreement between WHO Headquarters and the Swedish Government. There is an international Board to which WHO and the Swedish Government each appoints three members. UMC’s Director reports to the Board.

Since 2010 the Chairman of the Board has been Dr Anders Milton, who has held senior positions in many Swedish health-related organisations. Please find more about the members of the board here

A Strategic Executive Team of senior managers guides the work of UMC on a day-to-day basis.

Read more

Last modified on: April 17, 2019