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Code Of Ethics

Registration as a pharmacist carries obligations as well as privileges. It requires you to:

  • develop and use your professional knowledge and skills for the benefit of those who seek your professional services,
  • maintain good professional relationships with others, and
  • act in a way that promotes confidence and trust in the pharmacy professions.

The Code of Ethics sets out the principles that you must follow as a Pharmacist. The Code is the Pharmacy and Poisons Board’s core guidance on the conduct, practice and professional performance expected of you. It is designed to meet our obligations under the Pharmacy and Poisons ACT Cap 244 and other relevant legislation.

The principles of the Code are intended to guide and support the work you do and the decisions you make. They also inform the general public of the standards of behaviour that can be expected from the pharmacy professions. The Code underpins all other standards and guidance we issue. We will review the Code in the light of changes within the professions or healthcare environment.

The Code is founded on ten principles which express the values central to the identity of the pharmacy professions. The ten principles and their supporting explanations encapsulate what it means to be a registered Pharmacist. Making these principles part of your professional life will maintain patient safety and public confidence in the professions.

As well as the Code of Ethics, we have produced supporting standards and guidance documents that expand on aspects of the Code, or provide more detailed guidance on specific areas of pharmacy practice.

The spirit of this code is to ensure clarity and patency in the entire distribution chain of pharmacy service delivery from the Manufacturer/Importer to the Distributor, to the Wholesaler, to the Retailer/Community Pharmacy Practice then finally to the client with the aim of upholding professionalism and preservation of the public safety and being able to measure it.

Status of the Code of Ethics

The principles of the Code of Ethics are mandatory. As a registered Pharmacist your professional and personal conduct will be judged against the Code. You must abide by its principles irrespective of the job you do.

Disreputable behavior, even if it is not directly connected to your professional practice, or failure to comply with the principles identified in the Code could put your registration at risk. The Boards Ethics and Disciplinary Committees will take account of the Code in considering cases that come before them but are not limited solely to the matters mentioned in it. They will consider the circumstances of an individual case when deciding whether or not action should follow.

The two professional bodies Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) and Kenya Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) being the legitimate professional organizations for pharmacists in this country are obliged to orient their members on this code and have its members comply with it. They must use it and no other code to uphold professionalism among its members i.e. there is only one code of ethics for the practice of pharmacy in Kenya and it is this one.

The Ten principles

In The practice of Pharmacy as a pharmacist:

  1. Your prime responsibility is the good of the individual and mankind.
  2. You must show the same dedication to all.
  3. You must recognise the individual’s right to freedom of choice     of treatment.
  4. You must recognise and safeguard the individual’s right to privacy and confidentiality.
  5. You must co-operate with colleagues and other professionals and respects their values and abilities.
  6. You must act with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.
  7. You must serve the health needs of the individual, the family the community, society, and the environment.
  8. You must maintain and develop professional knowledge and skills.
  9. You must ensure continuity of care in the event of labour disputes, pharmacy closure and conflict with personal moral beliefs.
  10. You must provide emergency pharmaceutical services

Applying the principles

Pharmacists and Enrolled Pharmaceutical Technologists have overall responsibility for the provision of pharmaceutical services for which they are the practicing.

Every registered pharmacy professional is responsible for their own actions. It is your responsibility as a pharmacist or Pharmaceutical Technologist to apply the principles of the Code of Ethics to your daily work, whether or not you routinely treat or care for patients. You must be able to show that you are aware of the Code and have followed the principles it lays down.

You are professionally accountable for your practice. This means that you are answerable for your acts and omissions, regardless of advice or directions from your manager(s), owner(s) or another professional. You are expected to use your professional judgment in the light of the principles of the Code and must be prepared to justify your actions if asked to do so.

Users of pharmaceutical services include patients, customers and clients. The Code uses the term patient(s) to encompass any individuals or groups who access or are affected by your professional pharmacy services or advice. If you offer veterinary pharmacy services, the term patient also extends to the animals you provide services for.

The work of pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Technologists takes many different forms and accordingly not all of the principles will be applicable to every situation you find yourself in. The ten principles are of equal importance. Each principle is supported by a series of statements that explain the types of action and behaviour expected of you when applying the principles in practice. These are not exhaustive.

In meeting the principles of the Code you are expected to comply with other accepted standards and take account of guidance issued by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board or other relevant organisations.

From time to time you may be faced with conflicting professional obligations or legal requirements. In these circumstances you must consider fully the options available to you, evaluate the risks and benefits associated with possible courses of action and determine what is most appropriate in the interests of patients and the public.

Source: THE CODE OF ETHICS AND STANDARDS FOR PHARMACY PRACTICE IN KENYA, PPB