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Unit Overview


This unit focuses on principles and concepts of pharmaceutical chemistry and the analysis of pure drugs, formulated products and drugs in biological specimen. After a brief review of the chemical characteristics of the most important functional groups in a pharmaceutical context, it introduces students to different techniques employed in the separation (e.g. liquid–liquid extraction, TLC / HPTLC, HPLC) as well as the qualitative and quantitative analysis of pure and formulated drugs (e.g. titrimetric assays, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, IR spectroscopy, NMR and mass spectrometry). It also introduces the concept of stereochemistry and illustrates in what ways it can influence drug activity and/or toxicity. Major chemical routes of drug degradation and strategies to curtail them are discussed. In this context students are also introduced to degradation kinetics and the concept of drug shelf life. The need for quality control for drugs and drug products including complementary medicines is highlighted and the associated pharmacopoeial requirements are discussed.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) predict the key chemical characteristics of the most important functional groups in a pharmaceutical context; (2) understand the theory underpinning common qualitative and quantitative drug analysis and separation techniques as they apply to pure drugs, formulated products as well as drugs in biological specimens; (3) carry out separation techniques common in the analysis of drugs and formulations; (4) competently handle a range of quantitative analyses including associated calculations; (5) appreciate the important role of stereochemistry for a large number of drug molecules and are competent in applying different stereochemical terminologies; (6) understand the major chemical routes of drug degradation as well as strategies to curtail them; (7) be familiar with degradation kinetics and the concept of drug shelf life; and (8) appreciate the need for quality control for drugs and formulated products and be familiar with the various pharmacopoeial requirements as they relate to quality control.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory assessments; (2) tests; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Connie Locher
Unit rules
Enrolment in
51500 Master of Pharmacy (ID 123)
Contact hours
lectures: 24 hours
tutorials/pre-labs: 21 hours
labs: 21 hours

Cairns, D. Essentials of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 4th edn: Pharmaceutical Press 2012

Watson, D. G. Pharmaceutical Analysis, 5th edn: Elsevier 2020

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