nl en

Regulation of Drug Safety


Description and Course Objectives

Are you sure that the little pill you take each morning is really safe?

The goal of this lecture series is to provide a thorough understanding of several socially very relevant aspects of drug development. This subject is an essential link between science, industry, government and patients.

Subjects to be handled:

  • “Safe? Says who?!?” When is a product, like e.g. a drug, safe? Who decides that? Based on what?

  • “Don’t worry, it’s safe! I’ve tested it on guppies…(or guinea pigs).” How do we make sure that no dangerous drugs (products) enter the market? Who is responsible for that? How do you prove that?

  • “I need to test it on what???” Data mining: How much more do we need to know? What can we do with all the existing data? Structure-activity relationship, metabolism and exposure models, etc… Tools: What extra tools do we need more? Animal testing, alternative models, etc…

  • “Off course it’s safe, it’s NATURAL!” Synthetic drugs vs. botanical preparations vs. endogenous biotech molecules: How safe are the traditional herbal preparations? How safe are the biotech-produced endogenous molecules? Should everything bearing a label “natural” be regarded as safe? What do we actually know about the “naturals”?

  • “Well, we’ve proven it is safe for human use, are we done now…?” What about the non-functioning water treatment plants due to high levels of antibiotics in sewage water? What about the impaired fertility of aquatic organisms due to high levels of anti-conception (pill) residues in local waters?

  • “If everything is just a bunch of chemicals, why do we need all these different rules?”
    i Precautionary principle vs. Risk-based assessment;
    ii Pharmaceuticals vs. food vs. industrial chemicals vs. cosmetics;
    iii Differences in approach and mentality (US vs. EU).


Dr. J.W. van der Laan, Drs. Z. Gavrić


Master’s Students of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Life Science & Technology, Molecular Science & Technology.

Methods of Instruction

Lectures, literature research, case studies and discussions.


Oral presentation and written examination, depending on the number of participants.

Time Table

The duration of the lecture series is 6 days spread over 4 weeks. Each day includes a lecture/presentation part in the morning and an activity in the afternoon (literature research and discussion, a guest speaker or a visit, discussion or a debate on actual cases and examples)

Examination: October/November 2015


Application via uSis.