Properties of Medicines

Unit code: PHAR10102
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 4
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by Manchester Pharmacy School
Available as a free choice unit?: Y




1. Provide an introduction to the drug design process (Part 1)

2. Consider the basic pharmaceutical chemistry properties of drugs and their formulation (Part 2).

3. Discuss natural products as an inspiration for the development of medicines (Part 3).

4. Promote self-study through an assessed drug report (Part 4).






Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

  • Appreciate the types of bonding between a drug and its receptor.
  • Identify functional groups in any low MW drug.
  • Recognise ionisable groups in any low MW drug and estimate their ionisation in the blood and stomach.
  • Predict the basic shape and conformation for any low MW drug.
  • Recall the importance of stereochemistry with regards to drug development.
  • Identify any potential stereoisomers of any low MW drug from its structure.
  • Appreciate that a drug is formulated into a medicine by the addition of excipients.
  • Recognise that a medicine is typically available as a range of formulations depending on the needs of the condition and/or patient.
  • Analyse and evaluate the literature on the pharmaceutical chemistry of a medicine, and write a report.
  • Problem solve.
  • Complete database searching.

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 80%
  • Report - 20%

Recommended reading

  • Essentials of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (3rd ed) D. Cairns, Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2003. Chapters 1, 2,3,4,8. Available as an e-book on Myilibrary.
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Editors Jill Barber and Chris Rostron, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Feedback methods

  1. Group feedback will be given in the workshops throughout the module.
  2. Short answer questions will be circulated in advance and discussed in the workshops.
  3. Written feedback and grades will be provided on the drug reports typically within 3 teaching weeks after the deadline.
  4. Students are encouraged to individually discuss issues with academic staff before/after lectures/workshops.
  5. Students are encouraged to contact academic staff by email (,,,, to discuss issues and/or to arrange an appointment.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 1.5 hours
  • Lectures - 17 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 7 hours
  • Independent study hours - 74.5 hours

Teaching staff

Leon Aarons - Unit coordinator

Sally Freeman - Unit coordinator

Elena Bichenkova - Unit coordinator

Richard Bryce - Unit coordinator

Jason Hall - Unit coordinator

Roger Whitehead - Unit coordinator

Alan Hunter - Unit coordinator

Michael Harte - Unit coordinator

▲ Up to the top