Pharmaceutical Code Of Ethics

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Ethical codes are utilized by many organizations to help members understand the distinction between right and wrong so that they can apply these ethics when making decisions. A pharmacist is a person who is qualified to legally prepare and dispense medicinal drugs. As a pharmacy student there is a set of ethical codes that must be understood in order to become a pharmacist. Different professions have a certain number of ethical codes to follow but pharmacy has eight ethical codes. Beginning with the first code a pharmacist must respect the coveted relationship between the patient and the pharmacist. A pharmacist has moral accountability to maintain the trust that they have created with society.

In exchange for gaining the trust of the public all pharmacists must promise to help all individuals achieve maximum benefits from their medications, to also be devoted to the well-being of all individuals, and to maintain the trust they have gained. Following this a pharmacist must promote the good of every patient in a compassionate, kind, and private manner. Many pharmacists place concern for the welfare of their patients and must consider the needs that their patients communicate as well as consult with the needs defined by health science. Pharmacists must be committed to protecting all patient’s dignity and maintain a nurturing attitude that focuses on assisting the patient in a confidential manner.

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Confidentiality is defined as the intention of keeping a secret which indicates that what someone says will be kept in private. The main reason confidentiality is stressed very heavily among all health care professionals is because if the particular information you know is to be revealed at any given time without the consent of the patient it can be harmful to the patient. There are three types of obligatory secrets which include the natural secret, the promised secret, and the professional secret. The first type is the natural secret, which in it of itself is harmful if the information if revealed. As a medical professional you are obliged to refrain from hurting others unless there is an appropriate reason for risking that harm may arise. The promised secret is information that you as a health professional has promised to keep to yourself. Typically, this promise is binding because the matter is also a natural secret.

This indicates that the importance of keeping this confidential information is even more important. The greatest evil from ever revealing a promised secret is the act of actually breaking your promise to your patient. The final type which is the professional secret is information that if it were to be exposed will not only do damage to your patient, but it will do significant harm to the medical professional and the society that depends heavily on said medical professional. In a lot of situations where this occurs, the secret may get recognized by law enforcement officials. This is clearly the most important type of them all because when violated it causes the greatest amount of damage. A pharmacist must respect the dignity of each individual. Promotion of the right of self-determination is key to the ethics of pharmacy.

Being able to recognize the worth of the patients you see and pushing them to put their say in the decisions determined about their health. Pharmacists must be able to communicate with patients in a way that is easily understood. Cultural and personal differences must be respected by all pharmacists when dealing with patients. A pharmacist must act with complete honesty and integrity in all professional relationships they create. Being truthful is one of the most important qualities a pharmacist must maintain. They have a duty to act with a principle of conscience in order to avoid any inequitable practices, behavioral or work conditions that debilitate their own professional judgement, and actions that arbitrate their dedication to the best interest of patients.

A pharmacist must preserve professional competence. As a practicing pharmacist being able to sustain the knowledge and abilities you were taught in regard to medications, devices, and medical technologies that become readily available as science continues to progress and become more advanced. A pharmacist must respect the values and strengths of their fellow colleagues and other medical professionals. When the situation becomes appropriate, a pharmacist may ask for the consultation of other colleagues in the field or other referrals of the patient. Acknowledging that the beliefs or medical strategies may differ amongst you and your colleagues when it comes to the care of the patients must be respected by pharmacists. A pharmacist must serve the needs of individuals, the community, and society overall. The primary obligation of a pharmacist is to each individual patient. At times this may stretch beyond an individual patient to the length of a community or a society. In these kinds of situations, a pharmacist must recognize the responsibilities that come with this larger task and they must act accordingly. A pharmacist must seek justice in the distribution of health resources. When said health resources are allocated, a pharmacist must be fair and reasonable while balancing the needs of each individual patient and society. For example, currently we are going through a huge hardship with COVID-19 being present. All of the medical resources that are currently available including tissues, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, etc. are all supplies that are depleting very quickly. So, it is up to all health care professionals to properly allocate all of the supplies needed not only for the hospitals treating patients with COVID-19 but to also give supplies to those trying to prevent contracting the virus. Overall being a health care professional is a career that is not only about the information that is taught to you in medical school, but it is about following the proper etiquette when it comes to the ethics of being a health care professional.


  1. ASHP. (n.d.).
  2. documents/code-of-ethics-for-pharmacists.ashx
  3. Code of ethics. (n.d.).
  4. Baillie, H. M., McGeehan, J., Garrett, T. M., & Garrett, R. M. (2013). Health Care Ethics. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.


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