When a person has been diagnosed and found to be unwell, medicine is prescribed so that they can take it and feel better. The medicine is dispensed by professionals known as pharmacists. To ensure that pharmacists conduct themselves in a proper manner, Ministerial Order Nº 20/37 of 30/10/2015 Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession was put in place.
According to article 3 of the Ministerial Order, a pharmacy professional’s prime concern is the health and welfare of clients and the community. For this reason, the medicine and other health commodities he/she purchases and distributes must be of high quality to guarantee safety to clients.
The pharmacy professional must also protect confidential information relating to clients if it has been obtained during the performance of his/duties. This is according to article 4 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession. Such information can only be released if the health of the client or other people is at risk, if it is required by a legally authorised official or if a court decision has ordered that the information be released. The information can also be released to a person who legally represents the patient.
A person who practices pharmacy must have a good reputation and uphold public trust of the profession. According to article 5 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession, such a person ought to be professional and have good personal behaviour, he/she must respect the trust that clients and the society give to him/her, and he/she must provide accurate, truthful and relevant information which is appropriate and not misleading to clients.
Using his expertise, a pharmacy professional must exercise his professional judgment to act in the best interest of clients and the public. This is according to article 6 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession. The judgment should not be affected by commercial interests.
Article 7 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession says that a pharmacy professional must encourage clients to participate in decisions about their healthcare plan. This means that the client must be provided with relevant and appropriate information regarding his/her treatment.
Because medicine is always evolving, article 8 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession requires pharmacy professionals to have current knowledge in pharmacy practice through continuous professional development and self-assessment.
In case medicine provided to a client is not effective or has a detrimental effect, the client has a right to raise a concern or a complaint in accordance with article 13 of the Ministerial Order Determining the Code of Ethics for Pharmacy Profession.