PHA3021 - Drugs in health and disease - 2017

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.




Dr Jane Bourke

Dr Jennifer Irvine

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit provides an historical overview of the use of drugs, with an emphasis on the principles underlying the safe and effective current use of drugs for the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease. The importance of evidence-based drug therapy is highlighted with an introduction to statistical and epidemiological concepts. The pharmacological properties of drug classes used to treat specific respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders are studied, concentrating on the rationale for their use. Pharmacological approaches to the study of existing and novel compounds will be reinforced in laboratory sessions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain the major principles underlying the therapeutic use of drugs, including the relevance and assessment of evidence-based medicine;
  2. Apply knowledge of the actions of major drug classes to explain their therapeutic applications and potential adverse effects;
  3. Use knowledge of the mechanisms of drug action to predict effects in intact organisms;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to execute pharmacological experiments to obtain, analyse and interpret data and present this in a written report;
  5. Demonstrate the ability to undertake literature based research to source and critically evaluate information relevant to current topics in pharmacology and to effectively communicate ideas in oral, visual or written forms.


Examination (3 hours): 55% (Hurdle)

  • In-semester tests: 15%
  • Assignments: 15% (Hurdle)
  • Practicals/in-class exercises: 15% (Hurdle)

This unit is subject to the Hurdle and Threshold Standards policiesHurdle and Threshold Standards policies ( of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences.

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures 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


BMS2031; or two of PHA2022, PHY2011, PHY2021, PHY2032 or PHY2042; or BTH2012 and one of BMS1052 or PHY2011