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Many modern university pharmacy courses include a pharmacognosy component covering a study of plant-derived drugs, and traditionally this area of natural products has been taught separately from the microbially derived antibiotics, or the animal-related steroidal and prostanoid drugs. These topics usually form part of a pharmaceutical chemistry course. The traditional boundaries may still remain, despite a general change in pharma-cognosy teaching from a descriptive study to a phytochemical-based approach, a trend towards integrating pharmacognosy within pharmaceutical chemistry, and the general adoption of modular course structures. A chemistry-based teaching programme encompassing all types of natural product of medicinal importance, semi-synthetic derivatives, and synthetic analogues based on natural product templates, is a logical development, and one we have practised at Nottingham for several years. This coursebook provides a suitable text for such a programme, and attempts to break down the artificial divisions.

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