Code of Ethics for Pharmacists
Adopted by the membership of the
American Pharmaceutical Association*
October 27, 1994
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 relationships with patients, health professionals, and society.
I. A pharmacist respects the covenantal relationship between the patient and pharmacist.
- Considering the patient-pharmacist relationship as a covenant means that a pharmacist has moral obligations in response to the gift of trust received from society. In return for this gift, a pharmacist promises to help individuals achieve optimum benefit from their medications, to be committed to their welfare, and to maintain their trust.
II. A pharmacist promotes the good of every patient in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner.
- A pharmacist places concern for the well-being of the patient at the center of professional practice. In doing so, a pharmacist considers needs stated by the patient as well as those defined by health science. A pharmacist is dedicated to protecting the dignity of the patient. With a caring attitude and a compassionate spirit, a pharmacist focuses on serving the patient in a private and confidential manner.
III. A pharmacist respects the autonomy and dignity of each patient.
- A pharmacist promotes the right of self-determination and recognizes individual self-worth by encouraging patients to participate in decisions about their health. A pharmacist communicates with patients in terms that are understandable. In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients.
IV. A pharmacist acts with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.
- A pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth and to act with conviction of conscience.
- A pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise dedication to the best interests of patients.
V. A pharmacist maintains professional competence.
- A pharmacist has a duty to maintain knowledge and abilities as new medications, devices, and technologies become available and as health information advances.
VI. A pharmacist respects the values and abilities of colleagues and other health professionals.
- When appropriate, a pharmacist asks for the consultation of colleagues or other health professionals or refers the patient. A pharmacist acknowledges that colleagues and other health professionals may differ in the beliefs and values they apply to the care of the patient.
VII. A pharmacist serves individual, community, and societal needs.
- The primary obligation of a pharmacist is to individual patients. However, the obligations of a pharmacist may at times extend beyond the individual to the community and society. In these situations, the pharmacist recognizes the responsibilities that accompany these Obligations and acts accordingly.
VIII. A pharmacist seeks justice in the distribution of health resources.
- When health resources are allocated, a pharmacist is fair and equitable, balancing the needs of patients and society.
*In 2003, the APhA changed its name to the American Pharmacists Association.
This article was posted on July 19, 2011.