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    The good, the bad, and the gray areas: Where are your ethics?

    Kim Ankenbruck has a knack for expressing what many of her fellow pharmacists are thinking, as readers of her previous columns, Who will stand up for pharmacy?” (February 2014) and “A dose of pharmacy truth: Report from the front lines” (May 2014) will attest. Here, she tackles the question of how to practice integrity in an environment designed to punish the attempt. And she has some questions for you. Post your answers at www.drugtopics.com, or send them to [email protected].

    Ethical standards have always held an important place in pharmacy practice. From medieval herbalists to modern pharmacy practitioners, the local medicine man, apothecary, druggist, or pharmacist has always been a valued and trusted member of society.

    These days, it seems as if our halos have started to slip a little.

    It used to be rare to hear about ethics violations in pharmacy practice. Lately it seems to be a common occurrence.

    Admittedly, part of the reason for the perceived increase in ethics violations today is that information is so quickly and readily available. One hundred years ago, it took a week to find out that somebody died, let alone that old Charley the druggist was selling paregoric on the sly.

    But this doesn’t account for all of it.


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    • MichaelSaija
      working for the 3rd largest chain gets us trying harder and harder to become strong and profitable all the time. It was interesting to see in a posting on CNBC.com and reading that Walgreens is considering completing the sale and buying the remaining 55% of Boots in Europe then moving its headquarters to Switzerland so they dont have to pay USA taxes. With all the business that US government gives to the pharmacy Chains Us and Walgreens it think this is a highly unethical move for Walgreens to do and suggest all of their customers use the door and come to the other 2 chains for their Rx's
    • LeoLawless
      While a I agree with most of what has been said we need to acknowledge that we are, at times, our own worst enemy. We have for decades provided services "behind the counter" which our patients are/were totally unaware of. We have removed ourselves from the front line of pharmacy in order to meet numbers set by corporate and abrogated our responsibilities to the patient. In response to two specific responses, with the albuterol inhaler were the patient to present with shortness of breath I would not hesitate to give her another and make a decision on calling an ambulance based on the patients response. Their is such a thing as "good faith" in practice and we cannot allow corporate procedures or even state regulations to keep us from responding professionally in the best interest of the patient at that specific moment. As for the Director of Pharmacy who was "non-pharm D" and the pharmacist who "was a Pharm D" get over it, its irrelevant as we are all pharmacist and we cannot let whether one did a 5 yr BS Program or a 6 year Pharm D program create a divide among us. Unfortunately I have seen too many pharmacists with the "I am a Dr." complex when in fact that BS Pharmacist with experience provided better care for the patients because they have learned to put the patient first and have practiced in the real world applying what they learned in the CoP and in daily practice. I don't care if the pharmacist is a BS, Pharm D or PhD we are all one thing first, a pharmacist, and the expectations don't change based on what initials follow your name. If we want the respect of physicians and our patients there is really nothing secret or magic about it, you EARN it. You need earn their trust, their confidence and respect because no one owes that to you without your earning it.
    • Anonymous
      You mention two specific responses regarding albuterol inhalers, but I do not see those responses here..can you copy/paste/repost those responses so we can read them? Thanks!
    • SteveAriens
      If you look at the stock price of Omnicare and CVS.. after Omnicare paid 124 million for Medicare/Medicaid fraud/abuse and CVS' fine for unaccounted opiates.. both are sitting at/near 52 wk high. So it would appear that "the market" and investors condone, encourage or otherwise support whatever it takes for corporate America to make increasing corporate net profits ... even if it involves ILLEGAL ACTIVITY. When is the last time you saw a corporate exec go to jail or be personally held responsible for the illegal activity of the corporation they manage ? If corporations are rewarded (higher stock prices) and there are no consequences other than pesky fines.. what do we expect ? Besides, bureaucrats - especially those in DC - doesn't provide a real good example of honesty and may be why Congress has an approval rating in the single digits..