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PA10308: Fundamentals of pharmacy: from molecules to medicines 2

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Further information on credits Credits: 12      [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 240
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 10%, EX 90%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Written laboratory report (CW 10%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: While taking this module you must take PA10306 AND take PA10307 AND take PA10309 AND take PA10310
Description: Aims:
To introduce student pharmacists to the physico-chemical characteristics of drugs and allied entities. To explain how these are relevant to their in vivo actions, their analytical quantification in medicines and biological fluids and in the design of medicinal products.
To introduce student pharmacists to the concept of dosage forms, brands and generics and orphan drugs.
To introduce student pharmacists to the ADME processes and the concepts of bioavailability and therapeutic window.
To give the student pharmacist practical experience of using a variety of analytical instruments to explore selected pharmaceutical applications; to develop data handling and interpretation skills.

Learning Outcomes:
After completing this unit, the student pharmacist will be able to:
* Have knowledge of what constitutes a medicine, the requirement for different dosage forms and how the production and quality of medicines is regulated.
* Describe the solution properties of drugs and how factors such as thermodynamics, chemical kinetics and pH affect the properties of medicines and their constituent components.
* Describe the factors which influence the release of a drug from its dosage form and its subsequent absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination from the body and of how pharmacokinetic modelling can be used to optimize drug therapy.
* Explain the role of dosage forms in ensuring drug release and performance and in therapy individualization.
* Explain how the fate and concentration of drugs in the body can be modelled and predicted using basic pharmacokinetic models.
* Use of spectroscopic data in chemical structure elucidation and problem-solving.

Scientific and practical skills (T/F/A)
Study skills, handling information, working with others (T/F)
Problem solving (T/F/A).


* Concept of medicine and dosage forms. Brands and generics
* Role of dosage forms. Excipients. Why different dosage forms
* Thermodynamics and its importance to pharmaceutical preparations
* Acid-base theory, pH and pKa
* Buffers, the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation
* Chemical kinetics - stability of dosage forms
* Bioavailability, plasma concentration versus time profiles, therapeutic window
* Drug release; IR and SR forms; Noyes-Whitney
* Diffusion and partitioning in biological membranes
* Absorption: Physiological factors affecting drug absorption
* Absorption: overview of absorption via different routes
* Drug distribution
* Elimination: Metabolism & excretion
* Pharmacokinetics
* Information about medicines. Pharmacopoeias, BNF, medicine regulation and regulatory databases
* Pharmacopoeias: tests and quality control
* Basic concepts on analytical techniques; Ionization and detection systems
* UV-visible spectrum; fluorescence, infra-red spectrometry; mass spectrometry
* Chromatography, electrophoresis, molecular filtration.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PA10308 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
  • USPA-AFM03 : MPharm(Hons) Pharmacy (Year 1)
  • USPA-AKM03 : MPharm(Hons) Pharmacy with integrated pre-registration year (Year 1)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.