The origin of EPN dates back to 1981 when the Christian Medical Commission (CMC) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) decided to provide advice and consultation in the area of pharmaceutical services to church health programmes, particularly in Africa. The Commission with support of a steering committee, known as the Pharmaceutical Advisory Group (PAG) came together in Geneva to discuss issues related to pharmaceutical service delivery in Africa. They engaged a pharmaceutical adviser who over subsequent years provided technical assistance in the areas of medicine management and rational use of medicines in the different pharmaceutical programmes run by the churches, thus providing advocacy and strengthening church agencies in pharmaceutical management. In 1997, the Pharmaceutical Adviser was moved to Nairobi.
The group of Church based organizations that were being supported by the adviser agreed to become a Network in a meeting in Harare (Zimbabwe) soon thereafter resulting in the establishment of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network. Since the network was formed, membership has been open to Christian health associations, faith-based drug supply organizations, church health institutions and other related organizations and individuals. Currently, EPN has 93 members from over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. EPN was registered as a non government organization in Kenya in 2004. On 27th October, 2011 the Secretariat and Board invited partners, members and friends of the network for a breakfast celebration in Nairobi. This was an opportunity to meet and share stories, look back on the service and dedication of EPN and reflect on the work of the last 30 years.