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Philosophical foundation

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 265 No 7106p128
July 22, 2000 Letters

Pharmaceutical care

Philosophical foundation

From Mr P. L. Craske, MRPharmS

SIR,-Pharmaceutical care, in which the individual patient is the focus of concern, is, surely, only indirectly to do with a duty-based morality based on rules and regulations, or even on principles and deontologies (PJ, June 10, p880).
For a philosophical foundation, we should move from Kant to Alasdair MacIntyre, who writes "the good life for man is the life spent in seeking for the good life for man".1 Pharmaceutical care is, in essence, the search for what is good for the patient, within the tradition and practice of pharmacy as it relates to the community in which it is set.
In the "pharmacy of the year" (PJ, July 8, p45), "individual attention" is given in an area with a "real community spirit". We should promote those virtues which have sustained the same high standard of service throughout the past 50 years, as pharmacy has adapted continuously to technological and social change. Many pharmacists, I am sure, recognise "pharmaceutical care" as merely a description of what has been practised in their pharmacies for years (eg, J. Wilson, PJ, July 8, p51, also "Xrayser", C&D, July 1).
Ironically, the feature of community pharmacy which has done most to facilitate a degree of pharmaceutical care, the retail environment, is the very factor which might discourage its further development since the pharmacist has always provided this kind of care free of charge.
For one thing, it helps create loyal customers. But it costs time.
To practise pharmaceutical care by following rules, with the intention of increasing profits, would never succeed. Pharmaceutical care has to develop as the practice of pharmacy develops, relying, as ever, on the honesty, integrity, and empathy of the individual pharmacist, as well as other virtues which will tend to "enable us to achieve those goods which are internal"2 to the practice of pharmaceutical care.
And it will bring its own reward?

Peter L. Craske


1.MacIntyre A. After virtue (2nd ed). London: Duckworth. p219.
2.MacIntyre A. After virtue (2nd ed). London: Duckworth. p191.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20002292

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