Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Associate Professor Elizabeth Davis & Dr Jennifer Irvine



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


This unit provides an introduction to the pharmacological principles underlying drug action, as well as drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Specific examples of drugs used for therapeutic and social reasons are discussed with an emphasis on the social issues associated with drug availability and use. How new drugs are discovered and the processes by which they are taken from the bench to the marketplace are discussed.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the targets of drug action, their mechanisms of action and the factors that influence their use as therapeutics;

  1. Apply knowledge of drug action to discuss the risks and benefits of drug use and some of the non-pharmacological issues associated with drugs in our society;

  1. Discuss the steps involved in the discovery, development and regulation of drugs from bench to market;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to obtain, present and interpret data from pharmacological experiments;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to source, evaluate and use information from a range of sources to critically analyse socially relevant drug controversies;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.


Written examination (3 hours): 50%
Tests: 15%
Practicals and in-class exercises: 20%
Student debate: 15%
A pass in the written examination as well as the in-semester assessments (student debate and practicals and in-class exercises) must be obtained to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures per week and three hours of laboratory or self-directed learning/ tutorial per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


BIO1011 and BIO1022, or BMS1021 + Recommended: PHY2011 and/or BCH2011 or BMS2031