Every pharmacist, aware or not, is constantly making ethical choices. Sometimes these choices are dramatic, life-and-death decisions, but often they will be more subtle, less conspicuous choices that are nonetheless important. Assisted suicide, ...
conscientious refusal, pain management, equitable and efficacious distribution of drug resources within institutions and managed care plans, confidentiality, and alternative and non-traditional therapies are among the issues that are of unique concern to pharmacists. One way of seeing the implications of such issues and the moral choices they pose is to look at the experiences of practitioners and the kinds of choices they have had to make in situations typically faced by pharmacists. This book is a collection of those situations based on the real experiences of practicing pharmacists. The use of case studies in health care ethics is not new, but in pharmacy it is. This text is an important teaching tool that will help pharmacy students and pharmacists address the increasing number of ethical problems arising in their profession. It is not merely a compilation of cases, but rather is organized for the systematic study of applied ethics. Part I shows how to distinguish ethical problems from other kinds of evaluative judgments and examines the sources of values in pharmacy, posing basic questions about the meaning and justification of ethical claims. Part II explores the basic principles of ethics as they have an impact on pharmacy. Specific cases from clinical settings present in a systematic way the various questions raised by each of the major ethical principles -- benefiting the patient, distributing resources justly, respecting autonomy, dealing honestly with patients, keeping promises of confidentiality, and avoiding harm. Part II examines some of the special problems of contemporary pharmacy such as the linkages between pharmaceutical care and professional practice, human experimentation, reproductive issues, genetic technology, death and dying, and mental health.