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Medicines, policy, economics and ethics

Explore the global impact of medicines
This online course helps students understand the ethical and socio-political issues raised by the development, regulation, funding and use of innovative medicines.

Course overview

Medicines save lives but they can be costly and can have serious adverse effects. Value-laden decisions are continuously being made at individual, institutional, national and international levels regarding the medicines we need, want and can afford. In this short course, we will explore and critique global and national policies and processes related to medicines, examining how research and development agendas are set; how medicines are assessed and evaluated; and how new technologies are translated into practice. We will also explore broader trends such as globalisation, commercialisation and changing consumer expectations.

This course is designed to appeal to a wide range of students from ethics, law, public health, health care, policy, communications, economics, business, politics, administration, and biomedical science.

This course will enable students to:

  • Understand the forces shaping the development, regulation, funding and uptake of medicines both nationally and internationally.
  • Engage in debate about the political, ethical, legal and economic issues involving the development, regulation, funding and uptake of medicines.
  • Critique current and proposed medicines policies.

Important: This short course is a variant of the unit of study, Medicines Policy, Economics and Ethics (BETH5209). It enables you to complete the unit without formal university enrolment. You will receive a certificate of completion, however, you will not receive credit points towards a University of Sydney degree.

To receive credit points and an academic transcript, please see the Medicine Postgraduate Non Award.

Key information
Course fees
  • $1,100 (incl. GST)
  • 10% discount for groups of three or more participants from the same institution or organisation
Course structure
  • Online only
  • Students will not be required to submit any assessment for this course, although they are encouraged to participate in online discussions.
  • A reading list will be provided to all participants; although due to copyright restrictions some readings may not be available to you. 
Application deadline 26 July 2021

9 August to 12 November 2021

How to apply


Complete the online application. You will be able to enter payment details as part of this secure process. 

Groups (three or more)

Complete the group application form (pdf, 57.7KB) and submit it to

University of Sydney staff

Contact us regarding a journal transfer after you have submitted your application form.

Group application form

Download PDF


  • Education Support Office, Level 3, Edward Ford Building (A27), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia