The unit begins with an introduction to the general principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. A wide range of drug groups will then be studied with attention focused on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, clinical uses, and side effects of each drug. Aspects relating to medicinal chemistry, toxicity testing, clinical trials and requirements for the admission of new drugs are covered in topics that relate to new drug development. Pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, sensitivity and resistance to drug therapies are further topics that address variation in drug outcomes. Social drug abuse and types of drug dependence are also discussed in this unit.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


RBM2540 - Pathophysiology 2 (applicable for HBBM students ONLY)

RBM2560 - Medical Biochemistry (applicable for HBBM, HBBS students ONLY)

RBM2800 - Cardiorespiratory and Renal Physiology (applicable for HBBS students ONLY)

Pre-requisites not applicable for HBPA students.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the general principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics;  
  2. Identify and explain the mechanism of action for the major drug groups affecting (autonomic nervous system, cardiorespiratory system, clotting, kidney, gastrointestinal system, endocrine system, mood, signal conduction, inflammation, cell cycle (cancer, anti-microbials), to then provide relevant examples;  
  3. Conceptually map the processes involved in new drug development and requirements for the admission of new drugs; and  
  4. Demonstrate hands on laboratory excision skills.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Written assignment (1000 words) 30%
Test Three Online theory MCQ tests 20%
Practicum Wet lab surgical coronary excision practice 20%
Case Study Case study activity (2 hours) 30%

Required reading

Fundamentals of Pharmacology 8th ed.
Bullock, S.,& Manias, E. (2016)
Pearson Education Australia

Where to next?

Study a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

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.