Evidence of poor prescribing is widespread including overuse of medicines, underuse of effective medicines, avoidable adverse drug reactions and medication errors. Junior doctors who have recently graduated are responsible for much of the prescribing that takes place in hospitals and are implicated in many of the adverse medication events. Analysis of such events suggests that lack of knowledge and training underlies many of them and it has been shown that dedicated training can increase prescribing performance. In the context of these problems, it is a matter of increasing concern that recent changes to undergraduate medical education may have reduced exposure to clinical pharmacology, a discipline dedicated to optimal practice in relation to medicines. For this reason, the European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (EACPT) and British Pharmacological Society (BPS) jointly organized a meeting to explore (i) the state of undergraduate education in clinical pharmacology in Europe, (ii) the knowledge and competencies in relation to medicines that should be expected of a new graduate, (iii) assessments that might demonstrate that this minimum standard had been reached, (iv) a curriculum that might help medical students to achieve this standard and (v) how competence can be developed in the postgraduate phase. It was agreed that the lack of exposure to clinical pharmacology is a cause for concern at a time when the challenges facing junior prescribers have never been greater. The potential for undertaking further research was discussed.