MEDSCI 722 : Clinical Pharmacology

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester Two (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The disposition and action of medicines in humans of all ages will be explored, as well as adverse reactions, effects of pregnancy, medicine classification, and evaluation of clinical trials. Emphasis is placed on understanding the sources of variability of medicines and the use of target concentration intervention.

Course Overview

 This course deals with clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; disease progress and variability in drug response; adverse drug reactions; writing of scientific articles and clinical trial evaluation; clinical trial design and analysis. Drug disposition and action in neonates, children and in pregnancy will also be considered. Emphasis is placed on the use of medicines in humans and application of clinical pharmacology to drug development.
This is an advanced course in pharmacology and it is assumed that students taking the course are familiar with the basic facts of drug disposition, pharmacokinetics and mechanisms of drug action covered in stage 3 pharmacology MEDSCI courses. The paper will cover clinical pharmacology in special populations; toxicology and adverse drug reactions; the effects of disease progression on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; the evaluation of clinical trials and individualization of treatment. There will be a particular focus on the use of clinical pharmacology for dose individualization. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and reflect on how pharmacology can be applied throughout the human life span (Capability 1)
  2. Explain and reflect on how clinical pharmacology enhances the process of drug development and treatment of patients(Capability 6) (Capability 6)
  3. Evaluate clinical trials and scientific literature about medicines (Capability 3)
  4. Critically evaluate a medicine datasheet (Capability 2)
  5. Critically present an aspect of a medicine datasheet (Capability 4)
  6. Devise individual reports of a coursework assignment (Capability 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Critical review of medicine datasheet with written report and presentation to the class 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 70% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Critical review of medicine datasheet with written report and presentation to the class
Final Exam
To apply for an extension, students need to contact the Course Coordinator and supply documentation (e.g. doctor’s certificate/collaborating note from a counsellor) before the due date. Please note that your application is a request only and it should not be assumed that an extension will be granted. Retrospective approval for an extension will be given only in exceptional circumstances.
Except where the Course Coordinator has authorised an extension of time for the submission of student work, work handed in after the deadline will incur a late penalty of 5% for each 12-hour period (or part thereof) that the assessment is overdue. This applies to all written work, including but not limited to lab reports, essays, seminar papers / presentations, assignments, posters, etc. Submission of written work is only complete when an electronic copy has been submitted through the appropriate platform (e.g. Turnitin or Canvas). Please retain your submission confirmation e-receipt / take a time stamped screenshot as evidence of timely submission.  

Learning Resources

  1. Avery's Drug Treatment, 4th edition, Eds. Speight & Holford (Adis International), 1997
  2. Clinical Pharmacokinetics. Concepts and Applications, 3rd Edition, Eds., Rowland & Tozer. (Lea & Febinger), 1995
  3. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 14th Edn. Ed. B. Katzung. (Lange Medical Books/McGraw Hill), 2018
  4. Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, 3rd Edn. Ed. A. Atkinson et al. (Academic Press), 2012

Course Contacts

Dr Nick Holford 
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-229
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86730

Dr Malcolm Tingle
Associate Professor
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-295
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 84949; 9234949

Mr Trevor Speight
Associate Professor, Honorary
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology

Dr Anna Ponnampalam 
Gravida-Heart Foundation Fellow
Liggins Institute
Room: 529-119
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 82115

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures and  2 hours of reading and thinking about the content per week and 102 hours of work on assignments and exam preparation. 

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.