Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Department of Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology, University of Auckland
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Department of Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology, University of Auckland

MBChB221B - Principles of Clinical Pharmacology

Clinical Pharmacology


Module Coordinator

Prof Nick Holford


Module Administrator

Jeshica Raj


Welcome to the Clinical Pharmacology module of the MBChB 221 course.

This Semester 2 module will build on your existing anatomy, physiology, genetics, and biochemistry knowledge. This module is designed to teach you the principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics that will underlie other aspects of your medical education and future medical practice.  Where we can, we will use specific clinical examples and patient scenarios to help you understand these basic principles. You should expect your learning from this module to integrate with your learning from other modules.

This module will help you achieve a set of specific learning goals.  These are expressed as  Learning Outcomes in the Phase I Year 2 Guidebook and also shown below in an updated form.  Please note that a Learning Outcome may be covered by the combination of several lectures, web-based clinical scenarios and tutorials.

I hope that this module is informative, challenging and interesting. Good luck with the year.

Nick Holford

Module Overview

The clinical pharmacology module is taught by a series of lectures and tutorials.

The lectures provide a structured introduction to the principles of clinical pharmacology and application to therapeutics.

The tutorials encourage students to reflect on the module content and apply principles of dose individualization.

A single coursework assignment is included as part of the module.

A timetable with links to all lecture and tutorial material is available:


The Clinical Pharmacology module consists of lectures and tutorials. In view of possible last minute change of venues and times, please refer to the MBChB Portal (http://medprog.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/timetable/) for the latest timetable information.

Lectures will be given in lecture theatre 505-011 unless you are informed otherwise.

The notes and lecture slides provided in the course manual cover key areas of interest as your lecturers see them, and guide you about the scope of what we expect you to learn. However, this is a university-level course, therefore, for some topics you will need to do your own reading outside of lectures and module notes. If unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to ask your lecturers for help.

If you are given reading material before any session or in this module manual, you are expected to have read and considered this prior to attending.

Recommended textbooks for this module and details of this module’s Assessment are described in the Phase I year 2 Guidebook.

Medicines You Should Know About

Practicing doctors may prescribe from a large list of medicines in New Zealand. Typically, every doctor will be familiar with several hundred medicines. Clinicians at FMHS have compiled a list of medicines that they think all medical students should be aware of. A shorter list have been identified that should be familiar to year 6 medical students who may be asked to initiate a prescription. These lists are accessible on the MBChB Clinical Scenarios Medicines website.

The CP module will introduce you to medicines from these lists. As you continue in your medical training you will learn about a wider range of medicines.  You are expected to be familiar with the mechanism of action, primary indications and major adverse effects of all medicines that are referred to in the CP module.  This information will not necessarily be discussed by your teachers or appear in the course materials.You should learn to use online resources about medicines  to complement and integrate the materials used in the CP module (see MBChB Clinical Scenarios Medicines website for further links).