A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support a new card game to help medicine and healthcare students learn the complexities of commonly prescribed drugs, how they work, and possible side effects.

Dr Mark Carew, a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Exeter Medical School, has developed the exciting new educational tool designed to revolutionise the learning experience for medical, nursing, pharmacy, and other students. Developed in collaboration with Focus Games, What the Pharma is a captivating card game designed to assist anyone who needs to understand the basics of clinical pharmacology in their studies.

The game helps players learn by making sets of cards (drugs, mechanisms of drug action, indications, and side effects) and explaining the clinical relevance of the set to their teammates. What the Pharma is both a teaching and assessment tool, allowing students to reinforce their understanding of clinical pharmacology.

“The basic idea for the card game came from my earlier educational work, where I realised that, for many students, learning physiology was like learning a new language,” said Dr Mark Carew.

“Students were all at sea comprehending the new words and meanings, so I used a card game to test their memory and comprehension of the concepts.”

Fast-forward to September 2022, Dr Carew initiated a final-year student project to develop what was then known as the ‘clinical pharmacology card game.’ Collaborating with medical student, Robert Arbuthnott, they refined and tested the game with fellow students and professionals.

Robert said: “Collaborative learning and board games have both made up huge parts of my university career. Combining both these elements to make an engaging yet educational game seemed like a great way to ease the challenge of revising pharmacology.”

With enthusiastic reception and integration into the University of Exeter’s Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS) curriculum, Dr Carew sought to expand the card game’s reach by partnering with Focus Games, a leading educational games company.

Melvin Bell, CEO of Focus Games, said: “There is a demand for resources that support different learning styles and peer learning from students and professionals both in the UK and globally. For two decades, we have partnered with innovators like Mark to identify and fill gaps in the market. Working with Mark and the team at the University of Exeter to take What the Pharma? from concept to market has been an exciting journey.”

The game is designed to simulate real-life scenarios and challenge players to build sets that reflect clinical logic and pharmacological knowledge. Each deck has a helpful crib sheet to guide players and encourage critical thinking. The game also offers versatile gameplay to suit different learning styles, with variants like Snap! and Solitaire available.

What the Pharma has just launched through a crowdfunding campaign. Supporters can pre-order the game or contribute to its development. This game promises to be a valuable addition to the learning arsenal of medical and pharmacy students and their educators.

For more information and to support the campaign, visit www.WhatThePharmaGame.com.