This unit is an introduction to the processes involved in the discovery and development of pharmaceutical products. Through a series of case studies, students will investigate the often serendipitous discovery of biologically active products and their chemical manipulation to become modern pharmaceutical products. The role traditional remedies (Western, Asian and Indigenous, for example) have played in discovering new drugs will also be examined.

Unit details

Online Real Time
Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse the historical and scientific context from which modern pharmaceutical products have been discovered and developed;  
  2. Research and evaluate various literature relevant to drug discovery and development with initiative and judgement; and  
  3. Critically review drug controversies and present evidence and reasoned argument.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Briefing report on pharmaceutical development for medical purposes (1,000 words) 20%
Project Report on drug discovery (2,000 words) 40%
Presentation Poster presentation on a topic drawn from workshop discussions (20 minutes) 40%

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.