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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 21st February 2023

27th February-1st June 2023


Payment type

How to pay

Credit Card

Link to payment portal provided upon submitting application form


Link to payment portal provided upon submitting application form

Journal transfer (University of Sydney staff)

Please arrange with your local Finance Officer

What happens next?

Once payment has been processed:

You will receive an email confirming receipt of payment

2-3 weeks from the beginning of classes:

You will receive a welcome email from the Sydney School of Public Health Education Support team, containing your e-learning login details and orientation materials.

2 weeks from the beginning of classes:

You will be able to access the e-learning Canvas site for the course. The Unit of Study Coordinator will provide you with a list of the readings.

After completing the course:

Please contact the Sydney School of Public Health Education Support team ( to receive a copy of your Completion Certificate. 


If you decide to cancel your enrolment, the following penalty will apply:

  • Cancellation received before the start of classes: the full course fee will be refunded.
  • Cancellation received on or after the first day of classes: no refund.

Cancellation must be made via email to the Sydney School of Public Health Education Support Team:


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