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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;59(4):464-74.

The teaching of drug development to medical students: collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and medical school.

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Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, UK.


Collaboration between the medical school at Leicester and a local pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, led to the design and implementation of an optional third year special science skills module teaching medical students about drug discovery and development. The module includes didactic teaching about the complexities of the drug discovery process leading to development of candidate drugs for clinical investigation as well as practical experience of the processes involved in drug evaluation preclinically and clinically. It highlights the major ethical and regulatory issues concerned with the production and testing of novel therapies in industry and the NHS. In addition it helps to reinforce other areas of the medical school curriculum, particularly the understanding of clinical study design and critical appraisal. The module is assessed on the basis of a written dissertation and the critical appraisal of a drug advertisement. This paper describes the objectives of the module and its content. In addition we outline the results of an initial student evaluation of the module and an assessment of its impact on student knowledge and the opinion of the pharmaceutical industry partner. This module has proven to be popular with medical students, who acquire a greater understanding of the work required for drug development and therefore reflect more favourably on the role of pharmaceutical companies in the UK.

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