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

MEDSCI 722 course details

Teaching staff

General questions regarding this course should be directed to the Course Director (Prof Nick Holford).

Prof Nick Holford
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-229
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86730
Email: n.holford@auckland.ac.nz

To Be Announced
Group Services Administrator
A/Prof Malcolm Tingle
Associate Professor
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-295
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 84949; 9234949
Email: m.tingle@auckland.ac.nz

Dr Anna Ponnampalam
Gravida-Heart Foundation Fellow
Liggins Institute
Room: 529-119
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 82115
Email: a.ponnampalam@auckland.ac.nz

Dr Soo Hee Jeong
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Email: s.jeong@auckland.ac.nz
Mr James Morse
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Email: j.morse@auckland.ac.nz
Mr Guangda Ma
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Email: g.ma@auckland.ac.nz
Mr Conor O'Hanlon
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Email: c.ohanlon@auckland.ac.nz

Course materials

Course materials are provided electronically via this website for students in Auckland and offshore offline students. To allow flexible learning, lecture slides and notes are available for reading and printing by clicking on the link to the required resource within the Timetable Page

Video recordings of the 2 hour weekly lecture and discussion sessions are made available through Canvas.

Department seminars

Students in Auckland are encouraged to attend the Department Research seminars.


Assessment will consist of course work and a final exam.

  1. 30% Coursework (essay - Critical Review of A New Zealand Medicine Data Sheet)
  2. 70% Final Exam (3 hours)


The topic of the essay will be a critical review of a New Zealand medicine data sheet as found on the MedSafe website or in the New Ethicals Compendium. The essay should discuss the overall scope and content of the data sheet.  It must also include a specific focus on the application of the target concentration approach to dose individualization and recommendations for improving the information given to clinicians and patients. The structure and format of your essay should be appropriate for delivery as a report to someone responsible for MedSafe medicine data sheets. It is up to you to decide what this report should look like. The essay has a maximum of 5000 words excluding references in the bibliography.

Please note that this is NOT an essay about the pharmacology of a specific drug. You are asked for a critical review of the contents of a single medicine data sheet. The choice of the datasheet is yours but you should take care to choose a medicine that is suitable for dose individualization. This will involve reviewing the clinical pharmacology of the drug in order to write an informed critical review of the data sheet. The critical review should identify positive and negative features of the data sheet as well as suggestions for improving the information and especially for dose individualization (which may mean proposing additional material to add to the data sheet). The critical review must be fully referenced to the original literature whenever appropriate in the format used by this journal:

The bibliography should include books, journals and papers which you used in your essay.

The critical review must be in your own words, type-written or printed. Do not copy word-for-word from other authors' work. Put it into your own words and acknowledge the source. If you use figures from books etc, acknowledge the source. The critical review document should be formatted with a table of contents, page numbers, introduction, critical review, conclusion and references sections.

Auckland based students will be asked to deliver a short presentation on their essay topic in one of the course sessions. Offline overseas students will be asked to give their presentation using Zoom. The talk should focus on what was the most interesting thing discovered in the critical review of the datasheet. 

The date and time of your presentation will be shown on the presentations web page within one week of the presentation date. There may be one or two presentation sessions depending on the number of students enrolled in the class.

You are only required to submit your review in electronic form to Turnitin. The University of Auckland use Turnitin to automatically check the content for evidence of plagiarism. You will need to register with Turnitin (through this web page). This involves supplying an email address and your personal Turnitin password.

You must then enroll in the MEDSCI 722 Clinical Pharmacology class using the following details:

Turnitin Class ID: 
Enrollment Key: 

 The Turnitin version should be submitted no later than 10 am Friday 1 October 2021.

In the case that this class is not being taught face to face only the electronic copy is required to be submitted to Turnitin.

Plagiarism or failure to acknowledge quotes and sources of information is cheating.

When plagiarism is discovered no marks will be given and the incident will be reported to the University Education Committee.

The critical review is worth 30% of total marks for this paper (25% for written component, 5% for oral presentation).

Details of the presentations sessions (times and presenter names) should be consulted.

Final exam

This will be conducted by the University in the examination period and will be of 3 hours duration. It will cover all material from the lectures and tutorials and relevant Division seminars. Exam questions will assume familiarity with basic concepts of pharmacology as described on the MEDSCI 722 front page. Offshore online students will be asked to take an online examination.

Examinations from previous years are available from the Examinations DataBase. Note the course code for MEDSCI 722 was previously PHARMCOL 722.

Pre-examination tips

  1. Check your examination timetable. It is published on Student Services Online near the mid-semester break. You should keep checking regularly, as dates may change. You should receive an official timetable in the mail two weeks before the examinations start. Always check the actual examination timetable posted to you - do not rely on someone verbally telling you.
  2. Please read the examination instructions carefully as all information about the examinations and the regulations are written there. You will receive these in the post with your timetable.
  3. Morning examinations always start at 9.15 am and afternoon examinations at 2.15 pm unless you are sitting an examination under special conditions.
  4. All valuables should be left at home, including mobile phones, as the University cannot take responsibility for these. It is a breach of the examination regulations to have a mobile phone at your desk or on your person.
  5. You must sit the examination at the campus which appears on your timetable.

Recommended reading

Most of the reading that you should be doing for this paper should be of recent papers and reviews. However useful background reading may be found in:

  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

You must also be able to use the Philson library's Medline Search Service and Current Contents. Tutorials for using these services can booked online at Library Course Bookings

Late submission of work/penalties

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.  

Aegrotat or compassionate consideration for coursework

If you believe illness, injury or personal misfortune has affected the quality of your submitted work, you can apply for aegrotat or compassionate consideration

Inclusive Teaching and Teaching Students with Impairments

Guidelines on Inclusive Teaching and Teaching Students with Impairments include the words:

“Students are asked to discuss privately any impairment related requirements face –to-face and/or in written form with course convenor, lecturer or tutor.”

Please contact Nick Holford (course co-ordinator) if you have any impairment related requirements.

Canvas & Piazza

Course details are also maintained on Canvas. Please make sure you are able to log on to Canvas. Class announcements will be made using Canvas.

This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the TA, and myself. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email team@piazza.com.

Find our class signup link at: https://piazza.com/aucklanduni.ac.nz/semester22020/medsci722