Ethical Conduct by Pharmacists

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

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.(( Chapter II, Code of Pharmaceutical Ethics))

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.(( Chapter III, Code of Pharmaceutical Ethics))

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. (( Chapter III, Code of Pharmaceutical Ethics))

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.

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