Some of the ethical practices for pharmacists include:
Handling of Drugs/Medicines by Pharmacists
Pharmacists should take all possible care to dispense a prescription correctly by weighing and measuring all ingredients in correct proportions, with the help of scale and measures (visual estimations must be avoided). Further, a pharmacist should always use drugs and medicinal preparations of standard quality, and should never adulterate the preparations. A pharmacist should be very careful in dealing with drugs and medicinal preparations known to be poisonous, or used for addiction or any other abusive purposes.1
Hawking of Drugs/Medicines
Hawking of drugs and medicines is discouraged. Therefore, pharmacists cannot engage in door-to-door solicitation of the products. To prevent self-medication using drugs, pharmacists are discouraged from distributing therapeutic substances without expert supervision.2
Fair Trade Practice
Cut-throat competition, aiming to capture the business of another pharmaceutical establishment is discouraged among pharmacists. Cut-throat competition includes:
- Offering any sort of prizes, gifts or any kind of allurement to customers
- Knowingly charging lower prices for medical commodities, compared to the reasonable prices charged by a fellow pharmacist.
In case any order or prescription intended to be served by a particular dispensary is brought by mistake to another dispensary, the latter should refuse to accept it and should direct the customer to the right place. Imitation or making a copy of labels, trademarks and other signs and symbols of other pharmaceutical establishments are also not allowed under the law. 2
Advertising and Displays
In connection to selling medicines to the public, a pharmacist should not use displays that are undignified, or which contain the following:3
- Any wording design or illustration that reflects pharmacists or an individual in a bad light.
- A disparaging or derogatory reference to other suppliers, products, remedies or treatments. Even if the comments are direct or implied, it is not allowed.
- Misleading or exaggerated statements or claims.
- The word “Cure” in reference to an ailment or symptoms of ill-health.
- A guarantee of therapeutic effect
- An attempt to increase fear through advertisements.
- An offer to refund money paid by a customer
- A prize, competition or similar scheme.
- Any reference to a medical practitioner or a hospital, or the use of the terms “Doctor” or “Dr.” or “Nurse” in connection with the name of a preparation not already established.
- A reference to sexual weakness, premature ageing or loss of virility.
- Indecent references to complaints of sexual nature.
If a pharmacy knows, or could reasonably know that a preparation is advertised by such means, such preparations should not be displayed in the pharmacy.