Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist February 2012 Contents Australian Pharmacist February 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 131
Continuing Professional Development
Submit your answers online at www.psa.org.au and receive automatic feedback
SUPPORTING PHARMACY PRACTICE
highlights a conflict of interest, but is also
harmful to the profession, the taxpayer and
the public trust.
In conclusion, the new Code of Ethics for
Pharmacists is not just a list of principles
to skim over lightly, but a representative
compilation of profound values and
expected standards of behaviour of the
profession of pharmacy. Every principle
has been carefully constructed and
designed to portray what pharmacists
believe underpin their role in
society as trusted, competent health
With all the ethical challenges the
profession faces today, never has there
been a better time to be familiar with,
and adopt in practice, the principles and
statements in the newly revised PSA Code
of Ethics for Pharmacists.
Key learning points
• The revised Code of Ethics for
Pharmacists applies to all pharmacists
in any pharmacy-related workplace
including hospitals, industry
• The broad areas of focus in the revised
Code relate to the relationship of the
-- the consumer
-- the community
-- the profession
-- business practices
-- other health care professionals.
• Consumers' health and wellbeing is
the most important core value in the
practice of pharmacy, taking priority
over all else.
• In the event of a moral objection
pharmacists should make every effort
to assist consumers to acquire their
health care needs and have procedures
in place to address such needs.
• The Code clearly emphasises the
importance of upholding the
reputation and role of the profession in
• The Code underpins the significance of
pharmacists as role models, continuing
education, fitness to practise, and the
responsibility to report impairment.
• It is recognised that pharmacy exercises
a 'duality of interests' i.e. a legitimate
balance of profit to sustain viability
of the business of pharmacy, with the
best interests of the consumer. These
two 'dualities' can and must co-exist in
harmony and ethical practices.
• The boundaries one must consider in
this context of advertising are 'the best
interest of the consumer (Principle
1); upholding the reputation of the
profession (Principle 3); and respecting
colleagues (Principles 7 and 9)'.
• The pharmacist is to avoid
both defamation and excessive
commendation of anyone, and in
particular other health care providers.
• A pharmacist works collaboratively with
other health professionals to optimise
the health outcomes of consumers
and must ensure no conflict of interest
encroaches on the relationship with
any other health care provider.
1. Pellegrino ED, Thomasma DC. A philosophical basis of medical
practice: toward a philosophy and ethic of the healing
professions. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press;1981.
2. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Code of ethics for
pharmacists. Canberra; Pharmaceutical Society of Australia;
3. Beauchamp TL, Childress JF. Principles of biomedical ethics. New
York: Oxford University Press; 2001.
4. Gillon R. Ethics needs principles -- four can encompass the
rest -- and respect for autonomy should be 'first among equals'.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 2003;29(5):307--12.
5. Queddeng K, Chaar B, Williams K. Emergency contraception in
Australian community pharmacies: a simulated patient study.
1. The newly revised PSA Code of Ethics
for Pharmacists is divided into the
a) The patient, the community, the
business and other HCPS.
b) The client, the community, the
business, the profession and other
c) The patient, the community, the
business, the profession and other
d) The consumer, the profession, the
community, business practices and
2. The first ethical priority in practicing
a) Patient care.
b) Consumers' rights in healthcare.
c) Commitment to continuing education.
d) Ethical business practices.
3. In the event of moral objection to the
supply of a medicine, a pharmacist
has the right to conscientious
objection, but preferably should:
a) Remove the medicine from the shelves
and tell consumers the pharmacy does
not carry the product.
b) Inform consumers of his/her moral
objection and allow them to make
their own informed decision.
c) Have clear signage informing clients
of his/her reason for not supplying
the medicine in question and ensure
consumers are provided with a
d) None of the above.
4. The pharmacy owner has asked
you, the employed pharmacist,
to dispense generic formulations
of prescribed medicines at every
opportunity with or without
consumer consent. If the consumer
objects when handed the dispensed
medicine, the pharmacist can then
exchange. You do not approve of this
approach, but cannot afford to lose
your job. The best way to handle this
a) Disregard the owner's instructions
and carry out dispensing as per
professional standards of practice.
b) Explain your reasons for not following
instructions to the owner, highlighting
your right to professional autonomy in
a non-argumentative manner.
c) Insisting on asking consumers for
their informed consent to dispense
generic formulations, if not excluded
in the prescription by the prescribing
d) All of the above.
A score of 3 out of 4 attracts 0.75 CPD credits.
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