PHA2022 - Drugs and society - 2019

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Elizabeth Davis


Dr Jennifer Irvine

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


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


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;
  2. 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;
  3. Discuss the steps involved in the discovery, development and regulation of drugs from bench to market;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to obtain, present and interpret data from pharmacological experiments;
  5. Demonstrate the ability to source, evaluate and use information from a range of sources to critically analyse socially relevant drug controversies;
  6. Demonstrate the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Written examination (3 hours): 50% (Hurdle)

Tests: 15%

Practicals and in-class exercises: 20% (Hurdle)

Student debate: 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

  • One-2 hour lectorial
  • One hour of guided learning; and
  • Three hours of laboratory/workshop activities per week

See also Unit timetable information

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