Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist June 2012 Contents 430 Australian Pharmacist June 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
I commend Betty Chaar for the recent
article in her series examining aspects of
the profession's ethics. This sort of article,
which analyses real life situations, is very
educative. I look forward to her further
analysis of Daniel's situation.
However, I feel that Betty has not fully
discussed Daniel's situation, particularly
with regard to Daniel's and his employer's
obligations under the Health Practitioner
Regulation National Law Act 2009.
Under S(5) of that Law, unprofessional
conduct is de ned as professional conduct
that is of a lesser standard than that
which might reasonably be expected of
the health practitioner by the public or the
practitioner's professional peers.
In my opinion, it could be argued that
the employer, by directing that Opioid
Substitution Therapy policies not be
followed, and Daniel for acceding to this
direction, could be regarded as having
conducted themselves unprofessionally
and be subject to disciplinary procedures.
I do not believe Daniel can say that he
was merely following the direction of
his employer (the 'Nuremberg defence')
as the direction itself was unprofessional.
Further, the Law goes on to de ne
unprofessional conduct to include
in uencing, or attempting to in uence,
the conduct of another registered health
practitioner in a way that may compromise
patient care. S136 then makes it an
o ence for any person to direct or incite a
register health practitioner to do anything...
that amounts to unprofessional conduct
and provides for a penalty of a maximum
of $30,000 for an individual person who
has been found to do so.
Daniel's employer should therefore be
very careful about giving directions to his
or her employed pharmacists that might
be regarded as in uencing or inciting
Finally, in directing Daniel, it might also
be reasonably argued that the employer
committed noti able conduct as de ned
under S140(d) of the Law.
This sub-section says noti able conduct
means that the practitioner has placed
the public at risk because the practitioner
has practiced the profession in a way that
constitutes a signi cant departure from
accepted professional standards. In my
opinion, there is no doubt that a member
of the public was put at risk by what
happened in this scenario.
If Daniel believes that this is the case, he
has a serious obligation under S141(1)
(a) to notify the Australian Health
Practitioner Regulation Agency about it.
This sub-section says: This section applies
to a registered health practitioner who,
in the course of practicing the... health
practitioner's profession forms a reasonable
belief that another registered health
practitioner has behaved in a way that
constitutes noti able conduct.
If he fails to notify the Agency, under
S141(3), this failure may be considered
to constitute behaviour for which
disciplinary action may be taken by
In addition to the Code of Conduct,
the National Law places obligations
on all pharmacists to take personal
responsibility for the professional conduct
of other pharmacists, as well as their own.
As far as I am aware, we have not seen
any cases about these sections of the Law
so far. It would be interesting to know if
there have been any. In the meantime,
we do not know how the Pharmacy Board
and the Agency will use their powers
under these sections and will just have to
take the law as it is written.
Letters to the Editor
Letters are invited from anyone
wishing to comment on articles
or issues relevant to pharmacy.
However, any letters judged byt the
Editor to be potentially defamatory
will not be published. Letters should
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They can be emailed to the Editor at
The Pharmacist Coalition for Health
Reform has been disbanded.
PSA, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists
(SHPA) and the Pharmacists Division of
the Association of Professional Engineers,
Scientists and Managers Australia
(APESMA) announced the ending of the
Pharmacist Coalition for Health Reform
Acting PSA President, Dr Claire O'Reilly,
said: 'The PCHR has been very successful
and achieved its aim of highlighting
the role of pharmacists in health
care. The partners agree it is now
time to build on these successes as
'PSA has very good working relationships
with other members of PCHR, and indeed
all organisations in the pharmacy sector
and PSA will continue to work with all
sectors of the pharmacy profession in
achieving common goals.
'The profession is facing a challenging
time and PSA recognises that it needs to
focus on how best to secure a sustainable
and viable future for the profession.
We are looking forward to continuing
to meeting the needs of our members
and preparing for the challenges and
opportunities of the future,' she said.
The PCHR was o cially launched in June
2011 and quickly brought to the attention
of politicians, decision-makers, health
sector stakeholders and the public the
skills and knowledge of pharmacists
which could be better utilised to improve
the health outcomes of all Australians.
The parties remain committed to the
goals of the Pharmacy Coalition for Health
Reform and will continue to build on
e orts to ensure the pharmacy profession
is better recognised and integrated into
the wider health care sector, the three
partners in the PCHR said today.
The partners will continue to seek
opportunities to work collaboratively in
areas where such collaboration will help
meet our common goals and those of
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