PHAR1101 Drugs that Changed the World

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Science students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 1 elective
Lectures are grouped into 10 modules which focus on a distinct drug of historical significance. These are used as a springboard to subsequent research discoveries which allow the development of even more effective medicines: (1) introducing drugs; (2) alcohol—the oldest drug; (3) ether—the kindest drug; (4) penicillin—the miracle drug; (5) thalidomide—the horror drug; (6) nitroglycerin—the explosive drug; (7) chlorpromazine—the liberating drug; (8) mustard gas—the noxious drug; (9) 'the pill'—the revolutionary drug; and (10) the future of drugs.
Students are able to (1) understand the broad scientific principles used to establish whether a new medicine has actual versus promised potential in the treatment of human disease; (2) demonstrate awareness of the role played by pharmaceutical innovations in elevating the health of human populations throughout the past century; (3) identify a handful of key drugs that produced significant revolutions in medicine or healthcare upon their discovery or introduction; and (4) show appreciation for the significant social impact that can accompany the use of lifestyle or recreational drugs such as alcohol, as well as conventional pharmaceutical products.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) end of semester examination; (2) online summative assessments; and (3) drug discovery pioneer assignment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Philip Burcham
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; eTutorials: 2 hours per fortnight

Li, J. J. Laughing Gas, Viagra and Lipitor: the Human Stories Behind the Drugs We Use: OUP 2006


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