Ethic Code of Pharmacists

Section I. General principles and provisions

The purpose of the Ethics Code of Pharmacists of Ukraine (hereinafter – the Code) is a declaration of fundamental principles of the profession, which is based on moral obligations and values. The Code defines ethical standards of professional conduct and responsibility, which have to become exemplary guide for pharmacists in their relationships with society under conditions of market relationships, when the role and significance of the pharmaceutical profession increases.

The Code indicates that the main task of pharmacists’ activity is to preserve life and protect health of people in accordance with the principle of bioethics “do no harm” not only to all living creatures, but to the whole ecosystem in general. It aims to protect the dignity and right for protection of health of a person and society on the whole and also defines the rights and moral responsibility of pharmacists.

The Code is a set of rules of pharmaceutical ethics and deontology of behavior of pharmacists in the process of providing skilled, high-quality, accessible and timely pharmaceutical care to the population,  intended to develop confidence to the professional activity of pharmacists and improve the status and image of the pharmaceutical profession in society.

Pharmaceutical ethics or professional ethics of pharmacists is a part of general ethics and is the science of moral standards of pharmacists’ behavior in the course of professional activity. It has deep historical roots and is nourished by the examples of moral behavior of the best representatives of pharmaceutical profession of many generations.

Professional ethics of pharmacists is based on the principles of legality, professionalism and competence, objectivity and integrity, partnership and independence, humanity, privacy and individual approach to each patient.

The Code is intended to regulate ethical relationships of pharmacists connected with the professional sphere of their activity, like in conflict cases by engaging special authorities (pharmaceutical ethics committees, etc.).

Code is prepared with due consideration of official reports of WHO, International Pharmaceutical Federation, International Medical Association and Pharmaceutical Group of EU.

Legislative framework of the Code is the Constitution of Ukraine, Civil Code of Ukraine, laws of Ukraine “Fundamentals of legislation of Ukraine on Healthcare”, “About Medicines”, “About Consumer Protection”, “About Advertising” and other legal acts of Ukraine.

Section II. Pharmacist in modern society

2.1. The main objective of the professional pharmaceutical activity of the area specialist is prevention of diseases, preservation and strengthening of human health and its compliance with the following basic requirements:

• promoting of rational administration and use of drugs (hereinafter – drugs) and medical accessories and medical equipment (hereinafter – medical products) that are in circulation and/or used in health care sphere, approved for distribution in chemists and their subdivisions;

• high professionalism and competence in the matters of  providing  people with drugs and medical products;

• guarantee of the quality and safety of drugs and medical products use, and also preventing of  errors in the manufacture, quality control, promotion and dispensing of drugs;

• participation in the fight against the development, production, promotion and distribution of counterfeit, substandard, non-registered in Ukraine drugs and medical products;

• participation in health and education work devoted to health care, resistance to sorcery, participation in the fight against pharmacomania, drug dependence, drug addiction and alcoholism.

2.2. Pharmacist must:

• promote direct care, preserving people’s health, including prevention of diseases;

• comply with  pharmaceutical ethics standards and deontology, constantly improving level of professional knowledge and skills;

• carefully carry out his professional duties, maintaining his professional independence;

• preserve the dignity and honor of the pharmaceutical industry worker, refrain from any deeds and actions that can cause negative attitude to the profession, even if it is not related to practical activity;

• posses complete information about drugs, including their side effects and contraindications for use.

2.3. Pharmacists in his practice on the matters of drugs and medical products promoting must comply with the legislation of Ukraine about advertising of drugs, medical equipment, methods of prevention, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as the rules of proper promotion of drugs by pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals which stipulate the following requirements:

• You can only advertise such medicines, medical equipment, methods of prevention, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, which are in due course approved by the specially authorized central executive body in the field of health for use in Ukraine;

• advertising only permitted of those medicines which are sold without doctor’s prescription, and only such medical equipment, methods of prevention, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation,  use of which doesn’t require any special knowledge and training;

unacceptable is the advertising that violates generally accepted standards of humanity and morality, leads to violence, aggression, dangerous actions that interfere health of people, creates false conception of the advertised products and leadы to unjustified  self-treatment;

• advertising should be considered unethical if misinforms concerning the advertised product and contains incorrect comparison with  the products of other manufacturers;

• failure to comply with the principles of legality, professionalism, objectivity, accuracy is a violation of advertising ethics promotion (distribution) of drugs and medical products, etc..

2.4. To promote development of  health sphere, including  pharmaceutical sector, and also improving of the profession image, pharmacists should actively participate in the activities of national and international civic and professional organizations to promote the improvement of legal framework of pharmaceutical industry sector and  take active public stance.

Section III. Relations between pharmacist and patient

Interests of a patient and care of his health should be the priority for a pharmacist in relation to commercial interests of drugs and medical products sales.

3.1. Pharmacist provides population with drugs and medical products and with the aim of their rational use fruitfully cooperates with the doctor and patient.

3.2. Pharmacist must provide pharmaceutical care to everyone regardless of ethnic, political and religious beliefs, economic status, gender, age and social status.

3.3. The defining trait in the  relations between the pharmacist and the patient is respect for the dignity and honor, priority of rights and interests of the patient.

Pharmacist must:

• treat each patient with  respect from meaning individual approach showing no  preference or dislike;

• have  psychological communication skills to be able to achieve confidence and mutual understanding between him and the patient;

• to act openly, honestly and objectively, without using in  personal or their institution’s benefit lack of information and ignorance of the patient about drugs and medical products, not to place pressure on the patient (in whatever form) for their purchase.

3.4. Pharmacist shall abide by demands of deontology, that is:

• be responsive, friendly and attentive to the patient;

• watch his speech, gestures and mimics, refer to the patient clearly and loudly enough, drawing attention by his proper form;

• be able to listen to the patient and always find common language with him;

• have perfectly clean and neat special clothing.

For each pharmacist a daily norm should be friendly treatment, politeness, commitment and desire to improve health of the patient, and this will increase the authority of a specialist and trust to his advice.

3.5. Pharmacist must:

• fully comply with the Constitution of Ukraine,  not to attempt on the rights and freedom, honor and dignity of other people;

• give the patient all relevant information about drugs and medical products (manner, time and frequency of use, contraindications, side effects, storage, interactions with other drugs, alcohol and food, etc.);

• implement effective pharmaceutical care for prevention or treatment of any disease;

• Give the  patient right to chose prescribed drugs and medical products;

• keep a secret about the patient’s health and diagnosis, which is a professional secret, except the cases provided by the law;

• deny dispensing of drugs to the patient if no prescription produced or if it is incorrectly issued and, if necessary, contact the physician to clarify information given in the prescription;

• provide first aid if needed.

Section IV. Relationships between pharmacist and doctor.

4.1. Essential in professional relationship between the pharmaceutical and health care worker is a common mission – saving the patient’s health.

Pharmacist as a specialist of this sphere shall:

• inform the doctor about drugs and medical products, their availability, distinctions of pharmacotherapy and use of analogues;

• provide the doctor with complete information about the new preventive and diagnostic drugs and medical products;

• require from the physician to precisely follow the established regulations of writing drugs prescriptions;

• detect errors in drugs prescription and discuss them with the doctor.

Remember that even small inaccuracies in prescriptions, manufacture and providing information on drugs can lead to cureless consequences and harm the patient’s health.

4.2. Professional relationships between the pharmaceutical and health care worker should be based on the principles of collegial partnership, respect and trust, maintaining of mutual authority in the eyes of the patients and public.

Pharmacist shall not:

• change the intended for patient drugs, because it belongs to the professional duty of the doctor;

• allow insensitive statements about the doctor in the presence of the patient.

4.3. Cooperation between a pharmacist and a doctor should be directed to the selection of the most effective and affordable drugs, optimal pharmaceutical form and dose,  rational treatment regimen and method of drugs application.

Pharmacist should make every effort to provide the patient with drug prescribed by the  doctor.

4.4. Cooperation of pharmacist with medical representatives of pharmaceutical companies and doctors in promoting drugs primarily should be based on indicators of quality, efficacy, safety, bioavailability and then on economic characteristics.

Section V. Relationships between pharmacist and his colleagues

5.1 Pharmacist must build relationships with colleagues based on mutual respect, trust, abide by professional ethics and should:

• be a bearer of high moral and ethical principles of their profession, beneficent, honest and fair;

• demonstrate tolerance, loyalty and understanding of different (alternative) thoughts, ethnic and cultural norms and beliefs of his colleagues, respect their points of view and beliefs;

• be regardful and friendly to colleagues, respect the work and experience of each team member;

• grant help and share professional experience with younger colleagues and by all means to contribute to  their ethical education;

• respect their tutors, senior colleagues, honor veterans of the institution;

• demonstrate professional and corporate solidarity, in every way to strengthen the image of the profession of pharmacist;

• follow accepted in the collective moral and ethical traditions;

• be an example of moral behavior not only for staff but also for the society.

5.2. Pharmacist should create and maintain favorable moral and psychological climate in the team of the institution, avoid displaying bad habits and peculiarities of character, unacceptable in moral terms.

5.3. Pharmacist must criticize incompetence and unprofessional actions of colleagues that may harm health of the population. Criticism of colleagues should be reasoned and expressed in the correct form and relate to professional activity, not to the colleague’s individuality. Remarks to colleagues in the presence of patients or  strangers are not allowed.

5.4. Head of a Pharmaceutical organization has to remember that the right of management is based not only on an administrative position, but also on the principles of humanism and morality, high professional competence and deserved authority.

Chapter VI. Pharmacist and scientific progress

6.1. Pharmacist must raise his professional level and skills, and use in his work achievements of pharmaceutical science and allied disciplines (medicine, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology and ecology, etc.).

6.2. Pharmacist should contribute to conducting of various studies (medical and pharmaceutical, organizational and economic, pharmaco-economical, marketing and sociology, etc.) aimed at increasing efficiency and accessibility of rendering pharmaceutical care and which  are agreed with the relevant ethics committee and has to prevent holding of pseudoscientific studies that do not conform to generally accepted humanitarian principles, moral and ethical standards and ethno-cultural and religious peculiarities of the regions where they work.

6.3. When creating preclinical, clinical trials of drugs, registration, manufacture and their sales pharmacist must follow the requirements of international standards (GLP, GCP, GMP, GDP and GPP, etc.), recommendations of WHO and MMF, the national legislation bases that govern pharmaceutical business.

6.4. Clinical trials of new drugs should be carried out according to bioethical principles, voluntary consent of the patient, with full availability of information about the planned research.

While conducting a biomedical research pharmacist shall humanely treat experimental animals.

Section VII. Pharmaceutical Information

7.1. Pharmacist must constantly improve his professional qualifications, constantly search for modern science-based pharmaceutical information, be informed about the latest achievements in the sphere of his professional activities, counter to spreading of falsified and inaccurate information.

7.2. Providing of pharmaceutical information in professional and public publications, any media, speeches of pharmacists at scientific conferences in the conditions of  professional and practical activity should be subject to ethical rules and regulations, avoiding demonstration of advertising, self-promotion and unfair competition.

7.3. Pharmacist must give the patient comprehensive and accessible information on application, contraindications, side effects of drugs and medical products, even against his own or commercial interests of the institution.

7.4. Pharmacist should professionally analyze information on drugs and medical products provided by manufacturers, distributors and developers of drugs and medical products, and be able to give it appropriate objective professional and ethical judgment.

7.5. Guided only by the interests of the preservation and improvement of health of the patient, pharmacist shall, in accordance with applicable law, report to appropriate authorities about the detected nonconformance in the research and practice.

7.6. Within the limits of  Good pharmacy practice, and following requirements of pharmaceutical evaluation of feedback with the patients, pharmacist must communicate and provide professional information in compliance with the whole  complex of ethical norms and rules.

7.7. Official scientific and practical information provided in any form for use within or outside the institution shall meet in form and content the standards of applicable law, legal, methodological and prescriptive documents as well as of moral and ethical criteria.

7.8. Pharmacist in his  daily scientific, educational and practical work should actively oppose the propaganda and use of not officially recognized methods of treatment using unregistered, counterfeit, falsified drugs and inaccurate scientific based information.

7.9. Scientific researches of pharmacists shall be reflected in the professional media with the objective copyright abidance, ethical reflection of all co-authors, reference to his scientific predecessors, expression of gratitude to the scientific leaders and mentor.

7.10. Pharmacists in scientific and educational activity must comply with ethical norms in search of  scientific truth with no violations of copyrights, distortion of scientific information and reporting, concealment of errors found in scientific research, educational process and practical work.

Section VIII. New Pharmaceutical Technologies

8.1. Actions of  pharmacists while developing of  new drugs and medical products with use of the latest pharmaceutical technologies with interference into the human genome, at the cellular level should be determined by ethical and legal and legislative acts of Ukraine, recommendations and requirements of the WHO, Bioethics Committee of UNESCO, Commission on Bioethics, the requirements of good  pharmacy practice: GLP, GCP, GMP, GPP and others.

8.2. Clinical trials of new drugs developed on the basis of new pharmaceutical technologies should be conducted in accordance with ethical principles of the Helsinki Declaration,  GCP rules  and relevant regulatory requirements.

Chapter IX. Respect for the profession of pharmacist

9.1. The principle of respect for his  profession must be maintained in all areas of pharmacist’s activity: professional, social, scientific, educational and any other and fully supported by every  pharmacist. Unacceptable from a professional and ethical point of view is disrespect and negative statements about pharmaceutical profession.

9.2. Life position, the whole career, any activity of pharmacist should contribute to the prestige of the profession,  preservation and increase of its best traditions.

Section Х.  The action of the Ethics Code of pharmacist. Responsibility for its violation and order of viewing.

10.1. Code is valid in the whole territory of Ukraine and identifies professional ethics of professional activity of pharmacists in all its directions, and is used by  agencies, institutions and organizations in all areas of the pharmaceutical sector of health care: education, science and quality control of drugs, manufacture, wholesale and retail sale  and advertising.

10.2. Pharmacist is responsible for the violation of norms and principles of professional ethics and deontology in front of the pharmaceutical community as well as of the current legislation of Ukraine, if the violation also related to its norms.

10.3. Revision, amendments and supplements to the Code must be carried out at congresses and conferences held by Health Organization of Ukraine, pharmaceutical community and pharmaceutical associations.

10.4. Community Council of representatives of professional public organizations and executive bodies shall monitor the way a pharmacist follows the Ethics Code.

Code of Ethics of Pharmacists of Ukraine(* pdf)