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Pharmacologists study the effect that drugs and others substances have on organs, tissues and the bodily functions of humans and animals. Their experiments include establishing the effect drugs have on individual cells; determining how drugs are taken up by the body; how drug concentrations change in the body over a period of time; and testing the safety, activity and possible use of newly discovered or manufactured substances.

Pharmacologists can specialize in drugs that relate to specific parts of the human body - neuro- pharmacologists focus on drugs related to the nervous system and cardiovascular pharmacologists specialize in drugs that effect the cardiovascular or circulatory systems. Endocrine pharmacologists study drug effects on hormonal balances.

Other activities of pharmacologists may include the supervision of laboratory technicians and students, the preparation of reports and papers for publication, and teaching students in lecture halls. Pharmacologists are sometimes asked to work with coroners, pathologists or other people involved in solving causes of death.

Satisfying Aspects
- interesting, challenging and varied work
- finding cures to save lives or cure illnesses
- good remuneration

Demanding aspects
- working many hours testing and experimenting before a drug can be safely released for human consumption
- keeping abreast of technological advances in this field
- frustration at not being able to find a cure for a terminal condition

- ethical and honest
- scientific aptitude
- keen observation skills
- very responsible, accurate and methodical
- logical approach to problem-solving
- emotionally balanced

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: MBChB - UP, UCT, UFS, UKZN, US, UL, Wits

After obtaining a medical degree, postgraduate specialisation in Pharmacology is required, e.g. US, UCT, UP.

- pharmaceutical manufacturers
- hospitals and clinics
- government departments
- provincial administrations
- Department of Health
- research institutes
- universities and laboratories
- self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own business, such as manufacturing pharmaceutical products

South African Pharmacy Council
P O Box 40040
Arcadia, 0007
Tel: 0861 727200 Fax: (012) 321-1492

Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa
P?O?Box 26039
Arcadia, 0007
Pharmacy House
6 de Veer Lane
Arcadia, 0083
Tel: (012) 301-0820 Fax: (012) 301-0828