PSMO-06 - Challenges in contemporary pharmacy — professional autonomy through ethics

Great Hall 1
Organised by FIPs' Community Pharmacy Section


Ms Yulia Trisna, ExCo member FIP Hospital Pharmacy Section, Indonesia


Pharmacists are faced with ethical issues almost on a daily basis, particularly in the post-COVID era, alongside their relationships with other members of the healthcare team.

Ethical issues in the post-COVID era are many, and may arise in the course of individual patient care (e.g. pharmaceutical services, protection of privacy, equity) or at an institutional level (e.g. equity of access to medicines). Of particular concern is providing adequate protection of confidential data which is essential to ensure not only the ethical and legal right of every patient to privacy, but also to enhance patient confidence in communicating honestly and openly with the pharmacist. With innovations in precision medicine, artificial intelligence, and other treatment innovations on the horizon, healthcare professionals need to think broadly about how to preserve privacy in a health care environment driven by data sharing. Patient-reported privacy preferences, privacy portability, and greater transparency around privacy-preserving functionalities are potential strategies for ensuring that privacy regulations are met and privacy is preserved. The FIP-CPS, under the umbrella of the BPP and in collaboration with other FIP constituencies, has explored the extent to which pharmacists consider the ethical and legal framework that regulates professional secrecy and respect for privacy in their countries, and to what extent they are provided with training on professional secrecy and respect, and their professional obligations. A report on the findings titled “Investigating global understanding and application of the ethical principle of respect for privacy, confidentiality and professional secrecy”  will be presented. Many of the issues that pharmacists are called upon to resolve are unambiguous and the decision to make will be obvious. However, when faced with ethical dilemmas, pharmacists are expected to use their professional, clinical and ethical judgment in choosing the most appropriate course of action. Whilst there may not always be one perfect solution, there will usually be a choice that is better than others. Using ethics-informed processes and analyses can help determine which is a better decision and provide a justification for that decision.

This session aims to explore decision-making in relation to contemporary ethical dilemmas, with a focus on the principle of privacy, using a decision-making framework applied to case studies and a discussion of options to adopt in practice.



14:30 – 14:35 Session introduction by the chair
14:35 – 14:55 Investigating global understanding and application of the ethical principle of respect for privacy, confidentiality, professional secrecy and autonomy: A CPS report
Mr Jaime Acosta-Gomez, ExCo member FIP Community Pharmacy Section
14:55 – 15:25 Practical framework for ethical decision making autonomy
Prof. Betty Chaar, University of Sydney, Australia
15:25 – 15:40 Ethics of data gathering and use
Ms Ezinne V.C. Onwuekwe, member FIP Technology Advisory Group, Canada
15:40 – 16:00 Panel discussion

Learning objectives

  • To analyse the application of a practical framework for ethical decision making
  • To challenge and discuss with the audience using practical examples of ethical dilemmas
  • To describe the results of the CPS report “Investigating global understanding and application of the ethical principle of respect for privacy, confidentiality and professional secrecy” (BPP Special Project)
  • To contrast the challenges that new digital health tools bring when compared to analogic ones

Take home messages

Pharmacists’ clinical practice must be sound and ethical, and the goal of practitioners should always be the well-being of the patients.