Ethical dilemmas occur when there are disagreements on ethical behaviour or application of ethical principles. Each party might espouse a different principle according to their own view points. These ethical dilemmas most often affect the physicians but in an increasing cascade the other health care providers such as pharmacists are facing situations in their practice causing such problems.
The geometric increase in the information about the diseases with their corresponding treatments and the progress of pharmaceutical industries in terms of technology has caused a problem between the physicians and the pharmacists. The problem here is the flow of information among the professionals and between the professionals and the patients. Since the interrelationship between the physicians and the pharmacists has become more greater, it has become essential to understand and complement each other for a better and effective patient care. We often witness the patients not being told the truth for their benefit. The physicians set off the action and the pharmacists are expected to follow. With this the rights of the patients and consideration of duty to inform is rapidly diminishing.
The dilemma involves not telling the truth for patients benefit. What if the patients demand further information and suspects a fraud? In such rare cases the pharmacists choose to support the physician’s call. But in the recent times we’ve been witnessing some changes in such behaviour. In a survey done by the Virginia University USA, the Students were seen having a legalistic approach towards such a situation and choose to educate the patients further. They were rather adamant for prescribing the generic over-the counter drugs as their schooling made them more comfortable with the quality of today’s generic drugs than the older pharmacist who might have faced problems regarding it in their careers.
There are changes coming which will continue to modify the relationship between the physician and the pharmacist. We have now become more knowledgeable about illness and our diagnostic techniques have improved drastically. The pharmacists no longer rely on their physical skills in compounding but now dispense information and counsel patients. As pharmacists become more understanding about the disease state and their treatment they become more sensitive to the mistakes of their colleagues. Hence it is essential for us to work together towards progress and complement each other’s strengths in order to achieve the best patient care. If we don’t want the accountants to dictate how the health-care is delivered it is critical for us to discuss and clear out such ethical dilemmas.