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

• 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

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

• 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

• 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


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

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

of code of ethics

• The code provide clear direction for avoiding ethical

• 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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