Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Societal impact of Pharmacology and Rational Drug Use

UM LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION Irrational use of drugs has a significant negative impact on society. This study-unit will provide students with the necessary information to enable identification of irrational drug use and methods to enhance appropriate medicine use contributing to increased safety in medicines use. The main topics will include: definition and understanding of rational drug use, methods of enhancing appropriate use of medicines at an institutional level, at an individual health worker level and at a community level. The study-unit will adopt both the WHO approach, which focuses on patient care and health as well as the World Bank approach, which also incorporates the financial aspect related the rational drug use.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to provide a foundation to understanding the importance of rational drug use. It also aims to enable students to appreciate the negative impact of inappropriate drug use on society in terms of both patient safety and financial aspects. Students will be exposed to topic from different perspectives which include country policy, institutional policy, health worker and patient perspectives.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Define rational and irrational use of drugs;
- Understand contributors to inappropriate use of drugs;
- Possess a basic understanding of the monetary aspects related to the inappropriate use of drugs;
- Appreciate the overall impact of irrational drug use on society;
- Describe factors which enhance the appropriate use of drugs;
- Possess an appreciation of the cultural factors leading to both the inappropriate use of drugs and to the uptake of practices enhancing rational drug use.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify practices leading to inappropriate drug use;
- Retrieve and interpret pharmacotherapeutic clinical guidelines;
- Interpret information on the societal impact of inappropriate drug use;
- Propose culturally appropriate methods of addressing inappropriate use of medicines.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:

- World Health Organisation. Promoting Rational Use of drug. [Open access resource]
- Bigdeli M, Peters DH, Wagner AK. Medicines in Health Systems: Advancing access affability and appropriate use. 2014. Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. [Open access resource]

Supplementary Reading:

- Tully MP & Franklin BD. Safety in Medicines Use. 2016. Taylor and CRC Press, Francis group.


- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Published by the British Pharmacological Society.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Gianluca Bezzina
Maria A. Cordina
Tanya Formosa
Janet Mifsud
Katya Sacco
Lorna West


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.