ASCEPT member recognised

Professor Andrew McLachlan was made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to pharmacy as a researcher, educator and administrator, and to professional medical and scientific organisations”. Andrew was also recently appointed as the Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. Congratulations Andrew!

New CEO of NPSMedicine Wise

Mr Steve Morris to replace outgoing chief executive Dr Lynn Weekes.

Steve Morris has extensive clinical and senior leadership experience coupled with deep knowledge of quality use of health technologies and the Australian health landscape. Steve is currently Chief Pharmacist for South Australia and Executive Director of SA Pharmacy. Prior to this he was Deputy Chief Executive of the National Prescribing Centre in the UK. With the support of the Executive team and staff Steve is very well placed to build on the success of NPS MedicineWise and to deliver on our mission into the future. Steve will take up the position of CEO in early September 2018.

DIA Global Forum – June 2017

The June 2017 edition of DIA Global Forum: Driving Insights to Action is now available.

DIA’s digital magazine offers expert global and regional coverage of the discovery, development, regulation, surveillance, and marketing of health care products, including interviews with thought leaders and topical summaries from educational events.

June provides the opportunity to look both backward and forward. So does your June Global Forum. This new issue presents the latest reports from the fields of translational medicine, regulatory science, patient engagement, and value and access, from a truly “global” perspective, in our streamlined digital format.

Please click here to access the DIA Global Forum June 2017 edition

ASCEPT-Led Publications

Tina Hinton and others edited a special issue of Pharmacological Research, Pharmacology in Australia, highlighting some of the many advances in clinical and basic pharmacology and toxicology to which Australian researchers, and particularly members of ASCEPT,  have contributed significantly. The issues comprises reviews from established and emerging researchers  (New Investigator Symposia finalists).

Lachlan Rash and Dom Geraghty recently edited a volume of Advances in PharmacologyIon Channels Down Under, with contributions from prominent Australia-based scientists and highly-recognized experts with major accomplishments in the field of ion channel pharmacology. Topics covered include the role of ion channels in health and disease, ion channels as therapeutic targets and the molecular pharmacology of ion channels.

Members of ASCEPT who have edited major volumes are invited to provide details which will be placed on the ASCEPT website and distributed to the membership in the regular eNews.

Guide to Pharmacology

An expert-driven guide to pharmacological targets and the substances that act on them.

Read more here

Thinking of Joining?

We promote advances in research, provide teaching & training and ensure that ASCEPT has a major role in advising government and other organisations on related matters. You can also benefit from discounted rates and networking opportunities.

Becoming a member is easy and we we provide international links and professional partnerships.

Life and Honorary members

ASCEPT is proud to recognise the achievements and contribution of the following members:


The Beginning: the Australasian Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists (ASCEP)

There was a recognition in the mid-1960s that it was time for Pharmacology to have a more identifiable and exclusive image than it had hitherto enjoyed. Up to this time, there were almost no separate academic departments of Pharmacology in Australia and Pharmacology was still seen by many as a sub discipline of Physiology. To this end, a small group, known as the Steering Committee, met formally in November 1966 to discuss the formation of a society that would have as its primary focus clinical and experimental pharmacology. The Steering Committee consisted of the following: from academia, Professors Garth McQueen (Dunedin) and Robert Whelan (Adelaide), and from the pharmaceutical industry, Drs Kevin Higgins, Ralph Howard, Bernard Lake and Neville Percy. This group must clearly have been very active since within 6 months about 120 people in Australasia expressed an interest in such a society being founded. The Interim Council (the members of the Steering Committee) met in June 1967 and specified the format of the Society’s first scientific meeting and annual general meeting. This took place at the Melbourne University Pharmacology Department in November of the same year. The first Council was elected at this meeting and consisted of Professor Robert Whelan (President), Professor Garth McQueen (President-elect), Dr Bernard Lake (Registrar – now renamed Secretary), Professor Michael Rand (Assistant Registrar), Dr Kevin Higgins (Treasurer) and Dr Neville Percy (Assistant Treasurer). The role of these main office bearers has remained unchanged in the last 40 years.

The Memorandum and Articles of Association (Constitution) were formally accepted by the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department in March 1968 and the Society was now a registered entity. At this time, there were 192 members from all Australian States, New Zealand and New Guinea. Members were welcomed, not only from traditional Pharmacology but also from related disciplines, with the sole proviso that they should be interested in some aspect of Pharmacology, since the first Council recognised that people who called themselves Pharmacologists often came from disparate disciplines.

Some of the main objectives of ASCEP enunciated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association were as follows: to promote and advance the study and application of Pharmacology and Toxicology in all its aspects; to promote, arrange and conduct meetings and related activities; to publish and print such lectures and proceedings of such meetings; to cultivate and maintain the highest principles of practice and ethics in persons engaged in the sciences of Pharmacology, Toxicology and ancillary sciences; to have a role in advising governments on maintaining optimum standards of drug efficacy and safety and possibly other roles in advising on legislative aspects of drug use. Whilst the scope of Pharmacology in the broader sense has undoubtedly increased in the last 40 years, the original objectives remain essentially unchanged and are still relevant in the 21st century. Read more…

Clinical Pharmacology

Clinical Pharmacology is concerned with the science of drugs and their use in humans. It encompasses all aspects of the safe, effective and rational use of medicines applied at individual, group, and population levels. Clinical Pharmacologists are physicians specialised in Clinical Pharmacology. People from a range of backgrounds are involved in Clinical Pharmacology, e.g. clinical pharmacy, experimental pharmacology and biochemistry, epidemiology, and other fields of medical practice.

The professional society for Clinical Pharmacology in Australasia is ASCEPT, which in turn is affiliated with international societies concerned with Clinical Pharmacology. The Clinical Special Interest Group of ASCEPT is ASCEPT’s forum for Clinical Pharmacology and is open to all members of ASCEPT with an interest in Clinical Pharmacology.

Clinical Pharmacology In HealthCare Teaching And Research.pdf

What is Pharmacology/ Toxicology?

What is pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the branch of science concerned with the study of drugs and how they affect living organisms. When most people think about the word “drug”, they usually associate it with illegal substances, such as cannabis, heroin or cocaine. But in pharmacology, the word “drug” has a much broader meaning than that; any compound that can modify the biological function of living organisms can be considered a drug. This definition includes not only medicines that have beneficial effects in the treatment of various disorders, but also common everyday chemicals such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, illegal substances of abuse, and a variety of man-made or natural environmental toxins. Pharmacologists study the actions of all these substances.

The word “pharmacology” itself comes from the Greek word for drug, “pharmakon”. Pharmacology not only encompasses the discovery of drugs, but also the investigation of their chemical properties, mechanisms of action, uses and biological effects. Within the discipline of pharmacology, there is scope for studying many different aspects of how chemical agents act on the body, and vice versa. For example, molecular pharmacology involves the study of drug action at the molecular or cellular level. Systems pharmacology focuses on agents affecting specific physiological systems, such as the nervous system (neuropharmacology) or the cardiovascular system (cardiovascular pharmacology). Behavioural pharmacology investigates how drugs affect behaviour. Clinical pharmacology is another aspect of pharmacology that focuses on the study of drugs in humans.

What is toxicology?

The related science of toxicology involves the study of the nature and mechanisms of deleterious effects of chemicals on humans, animals and other biological systems. The study of toxicology as a distinct, yet related, discipline to pharmacology highlights the focus of toxicologists in formulating measures aimed at protecting public health against hazards associated with toxic substances in food, air and water, as well as risks that may be associated with drugs.

What courses can I do?

There are many degree courses in which pharmacology and/or toxicology are taught, including Science, Medical Science, Pharmacy, Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry. Students in Science and Medical Science courses can elect to study these subjects as majors. In the other degree courses, they are sometimes taught as compulsory components. There are a number of Departments of Pharmacology or Toxicology ( which may sometimes be combined with other Departments) in Australia and New Zealand. As part of its commitment to assist academic departments in developing pharmacology curricula for different degree courses, ASCEPT has also been working towards developing core curricula that can be used as a guide by Departments when designing their own curricula.

Careers in pharmacology and toxicology

Graduates of pharmacology and toxicology enjoy a range of career options. You can be employed as a scientist in research programs in Universities and Research Institutes, and/or take a teaching position in a tertiary institution. You can find employment in a hospital setting, for example, as a clinical pharmacologist involved in clinical trials, or you can work for various government bodies that are responsible for the regulation of therapeutic goods and other chemical and biological agents. Many graduates find work in the pharmaceutical industry, where they are involved in basic research, drug development or sales and marketing. Some graduates also branch out into the areas of medical information and publishing of scientific journals and books.

Because drugs and other biologically active chemicals have had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on the quality of life of the population, there will always be a demand for pharmacologists and toxicologists. Exciting developments related to the sequencing of the human genome have highlighted the vast number of potential new drug targets that can be exploited for the alleviation of various diseases. In addition, there is always room for improvement of existing drug therapies.