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A Question of Ethics

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Ethics is such a controversial topic. Ethical dilemmas can occur daily for some pharmacists whether it be unsigned prescriptions or issues surrounding patient confidentiality. Having thought quite deeply about ethics, I believe nothing can really prepare you for a ethical dilemma unless you actually experience them. This can be quite daunting. When you consider what it means to be ethical, it can be easy to get lost in thought. Luckily for us pharmacy people, there is the Standards of Conduct Ethics and Performance.  The Code of Ethics seems almost unfaultable. But can anyone follow the Standards perfectly? An individual may regard what they see as putting a patient first differently than another. Who is to say either of them are incorrect? Ethics is tough. Dale and Applebe states that “Rules of law and ethics are commonly held to differ because law is enforced by the state and ethical rules are only morally binding. When you consider that statement  you can conclude that you could be ‘morally unlawful’ and ‘lawfully immoral’. I remember discussing this with a friend, she said as a pharmacist she would never break the law. If only things were that black and white.  I have wondered where ethics actually comes from? What variety of factors play a role in my own personal ethics? Who is truly right/wrong? Can an individual/pharmacist be truly ethical working in a target driven environment? Finally, to some people, ethics is boring. I’ll follow the standards the best I can.  Appelbe, GE. Wingfield, J (2005). Dale and Appelbe’s Pharmacy Law and Ethics. 8th ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press. p288-289Royal Pharmaceutical Society (2013). Medicines, Ethics and Practice. 37th ed. London: RPS. p108-111

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