Code of ethics for community pharmacists

Code of ethics for community pharmacists


A profession is identified by the willingness of the individual practitioners to comply with ethical and professional standards, which exceed minimum legal requirements

• The pharmacist continues to be the health professional who is the expert on medicines

• Pharmacist are also given the responsibility to help people to maintain good health ,to avoid ill health where medication is appropriate, to promote rational use of medicine and to assist patients to acquire and gain maximum therapeutic benefit from their benefits

• The code deals with the ethics rather than the laws governing pharmacy practice

• The code defines and seeks to clarify the obligations of pharmacist to use their own knowledge and skills for the benefit of others, to minimize harm,to respect patient autonomy and to provide fair and just pharmacy care for their patients

• For those entering the profession, the code identifies the basic moral commitments of pharmacy care and serves as a source for education and reflection

• For those within the profession, the code serves as a basis for self-evaluation and peer review

• For those outside the profession, the code provides public identification of the professional ethical expectation of its members

• Professional ethics are defined as rules of “conduct or standards by which a professional community regulates its actions and sets standards for its members”

Elements of the Code

• The code contains different elements designed to help the pharmacist in its interpretation

• They establish correct directions for pharmacy practice

• In the absence of a conflict of ethics, the fact that a particular action promotes a value of pharmacy practice may be decisive in some specific instances

• Obligations provide more specific direction for conduct than do values; obligations spell out what a value requires under particular circumstances

• It is also important to emphasize that even when a value or obligation must be limited, it nonetheless carries moral weight

• For eg: a pharmacist who is compelled to testify in a court of law on confidential matters is still subject to the values and obligations of confidentiality

• The pharmacist must only reveal that confidential information that is pertinent to the case at hand and such revealation must take place within the appropriate context.

Code of Ethics

Structure of code

• Statements which capture the philosophical concepts which form the foundation of the code of conduct. They are statements which are expected to be resilient over time.


• More detailed statements to inform pharmacists of standards of professional behavior that they just meet.

• Although not underpinned by legislation, a breach of the obligations and, by inferences, could be expected to be the basis for displinary action.


Pharmacists are health professionals who assist individuals in making the best use of medications. This code, prepared and supported by pharmacists, is intended to state publicly the principles that form the fundamental basis of the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists.   These principles based on moral obligations and virtues, are established to guide pharmacists in relationship with patients, health professionals, and society.


Principles 1 –Pharmacists respect the professional relationship with the patient and acts with honesty, integrity and compassion.

1. The patient-pharmacists relationship is a covenant, meaning that a pharmacists has moral obligations in response to the trust received from society.

2. A pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth, to act with conviction of conscience, and to avoid discriminatory practices and behavior.

Principle 2. Pharmacists honor the individual needs, values and dignity of the patient


1. A Pharmacist assists patients to make informed choices about their own best interests.

2. A Pharmacist aids patients in their expression of needs and values, and recognizes their right to live at risk.

3. A pharmacist conduct all times knowledges the patient as a person discussion of care in the presence of the patient should, whenever possible, actively include the patient

Principle 3- Pharmacists support the right of the patient to make personal choices about pharmacy care

• The pharmacist has the primary responsibility to inform the patient about available pharmacy care

• A Pharmacist owes a duty to disclose material risks associated with medication therapy

• A pharmacist should aid patient in becoming an active participant in their care to maximum extend that circumstances per minute

• A pharmacist to provide information to the patient in understandable and sensitive way

Principle 4- Pharmacist provide a complete care to the patients and actively supports the patient’s right to receive competent and ethical care

• A pharmacists commit to lifelong learning design to maintain relevant knowledge and skill

• A pharmacists places concern for the wellbeing for the patient at the center of professional practice, provide best care that circumstances, experience and education permit.

Principle 5- Pharmacists protects the patient’s right of confidentiality

• A pharmacists provide pharmacy care with consideration for the personal privacy of patients

• An affirmative duty exist to institute and maintain practices that protect patient confidentiality

Principle 6- Pharmacists respect the values and abilities of the colleagues and other health professionals

• Pharmacists accept responsibilities to work with colleagues and other health care professionals and with public interest pharmacy organization and patient advocacy groups to promote safe and effective pharmacy care

• A pharmacist when appropriate ask for consultation of colleagues or other health professionals or refers the patient

Principle 7- Pharmacists Endeavour to ensure that the practice environment contributes to safe and effective pharmacy care

• A pharmacist’s manager has a responsibilities to foster an optimal practice environment and to ensure the provision of required resources

• If there is a conflict between professional activities and management policies professional responsibilities will take precedence

Principle 8- Pharmacists ensure continuity of care in the event of job action, pharmacy closure or conflict with moral benefits

• A pharmacists has a duty through co- ordination and communication to ensure the provision of essential pharmacy care throughout the duration of any job action or pharmacy closure. Patient who require ongoing or emergency pharmacy care are entitled to have those needs satisfied

Ethical Problems

3 categories

• Ethical violations: The neglect of moral obligations

• Ethical dilemmas: Where ethical reasons both for and against a particular course of action are present and one option must be selected

• Ethical distress: When pharmacists experience the imposition of practices that provoke feelings of guilt, concern or distaste

Advantages of code of ethics

• The code provide clear direction for avoiding ethical violations

• The code cannot serve the same function for all ethical dilemmas or for ethical distress

• The code cannot relieve ethical distress

• The code tries to provide guidance for those pharmacists who face ethical problems

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