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Learn about drugs with online courses and programs

Prescription drugs can help to extend lifespans and allow people to live with conditions that may otherwise be debilitating. Researching and creating prescription drugs is a complicated process. Learn about this innovative industry with courses on edX.

What are drugs?

Prescription drugs are used to treat specific medical conditions, manage chronic diseases, alleviate symptoms, or prevent health conditions. Doctors assess patients’ medical history, symptoms, and overall health in order to determine the best course of action, including prescribing drugs.

Often more potent than over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs can only be obtained with a valid prescription from a licensed physician. They are also regulated by the government authorities as a means of ensuring that they are used safely and appropriately.

Learning about the development, testing, and prescribing of specialized drugs can provide important knowledge for a variety of professional paths. If you’re interested in pursuing or advancing a healthcare career, edX can help.

Drugs | Introduction Image Description

Drugs course curriculum

There are many factors that influence the prescription drug industry, from regulatory practices to drug development and testing, to prescription and misuse. edX provides a range of courses that can introduce learners to relevant topics, such as:

  • Principles of biochemistry

  • The molecular composition of pharmaceuticals

  • The history, role, and rules of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • Drug discovery, testing, and approval

  • Pathways to addiction recovery

Learners who are interested in the financial implications of the pharmaceutical industry may find courses that explore questions of prescription drug regulations, costs, and access. Or, you may decide to take classes that focus on specific drugs, such as opioids or marijuana.

Learning about prescription drugs can supplement your knowledge of biology, healthcare, and government regulations. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore jobs in the prescription drug industry

Wondering what the career options are for someone with knowledge of prescription drugs? Whether you choose to specialize or remain a generalist, some of the roles you can qualify for include:

  • Pharmacist: dispenses prescription medications and provides information to patients regarding drug dosage and use.Footnote 1

  • Physician: prescribes medications based on patients’ medical history, symptoms, and other relevant criteria.Footnote 2

  • Pharmaceutical scientist: conducts research to develop new medications in a laboratory setting.Footnote 3

  • Regulatory affairs specialist: coordinates and documents regulatory requirements and processes within the pharmaceutical field.Footnote 4

  • Toxicologist: determines the safety of chemicals and other substances that may be harmful to humans.Footnote 5

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that may utilize knowledge of prescription drugs can differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher level degree, for example. Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.

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