British community pharmacists' views of physician-assisted suicide (PAS).
OBJECTIVES: To explore British community pharmacists' views on PAS, including professional responsibility, personal beliefs, changes in law and ethical guidance. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire. SETTING: Great Britain. SUBJECTS: A random sample of 320 registered full-time community pharmacists. RESULTS: The survey yielded a response rate of 56%. The results showed that 70% of pharmacists agreed that it was a patient's right to choose to die, with 57% and 45% agreeing that it was the patient's right to involve his/her doctor in the process and to use prescription medicines, respectively. Forty-nine per cent said that they would knowingly dispense a prescription for use in PAS were it to be legalized and 54% believed it correct to refuse to dispense such a prescription. Although 53% believed it to be their right to know when they were being involved in PAS, 28% did not. Most pharmacists (90%) said that they would wish to see the inclusion of a practice protocol for PAS in the code of ethics of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (CE-RPSGB) in the event of a change in the law on PAS. In addition, 89% would wish to see PAS included in the Conscience Clause of the CE-RPSGB. Males were found to be significantly less likely to favour PAS than females (p < 0.05), as were those declaring an ethnic/religious background of consideration when dealing with ethical issues in practice compared with their counterparts (p < 0.00005). CONCLUSION: Pharmacists view their professional responsibility in PAS to be more obligatory than a physician's, in having to provide the means for PAS. It is worrying that a proportion of the respondents prefer to remain in ignorance of the true purpose of a prescription for PAS; a finding at odds with current developments within the pharmaceutical profession. A practice protocol for PAS and an extension of the conscience clause should be considered in the event of PAS becoming legal. Such measures would allow the efficient provision of the pharmaceutical service whilst at the same respecting the personal beliefs of those who object to cooperating in the ending of a life. (+info)
The controversial early history of cyclosporin.
The biological effects of cyclosporin, namely immunosuppression and absence of cytotoxicity, were discovered-in the course of a general screening program in which many scientists at Sandoz were involved. Contrary to some statements in the literature both Dr J. Borel and Dr H. Stahelin markedly contributed to the discovery and characterisation of the biological profile of the drug. In its subsequent exploitation Borel played the leading role. The outstanding clinical importance and the extraordinary commercial success of cyclosporin explain the widespread interest in the history of its discovery and development. It is also understandable that the recollection of the events by the individuals involved in the early phases of this history is influenced by subjective impressions and interpretations, which do not always reflect the historical facts. It is the purpose of this report to record and interpret the facts as accurately and as completely as possible on the basis of the available records. (+info)
Ethical issues in funding orphan drug research and development.
This essay outlines the moral dilemma of funding orphan drug research and development. To date, ethical aspects of priority setting for research funding have not been an issue of discussion in the bioethics debate. Conflicting moral obligations of beneficence and distributive justice appear to demand very different levels of funding for orphan drug research. The two types of orphan disease, rare diseases and tropical diseases, however, present very different ethical challenges to questions about allocation of research funds. The dilemma is analysed considering utilitarian and rights based theories of justice and moral obligations of non-abandonment and a professional obligation to advance medical science. The limitations of standard economic evaluation tools and other priority setting tools used to inform health policy decision makers on research funding decisions are outlined. (+info)
Critical evaluation of the claims made by pharmaceutical companies in drug promotional material in Pakistan.
BACKGROUND: In Pakistan, there is no mechanism to monitor the drug promotional campaign by pharmaceutical industry despite the fact that there is enough evidence that irrational pharmacotherapy is increasingly encountered even in the developed countries due to unethical practices of pharmaceutical promotion. Objectives. To audit the drug promotional claims made by the pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan. METHODS: Drug promotional pamphlets and brochures containing claims for the drugs, which were circulated by the pharmaceutical representatives were collected from 122 general practitioners (GPs) from Karachi and Larkana cities of the Sindh Province. The claims were critically analyzed and audited with the help of currently available evidence in the medical literature. RESULTS: 345 distinct advertisements covering 182 drugs from different manufacturers were critically analyzed for information content. Sixty two out of 345 (18%) of the reviewed advertisements were adjudged to be misleading / unjustifiable, which were again classified as, exaggerated (32%), ambiguous (21%), false (26%), and controversial (21%). The primary source of information (approximately 78%) about the newly launched drugs for the GPs was found to be the pharmaceutical representatives followed by hospital doctors (5%) and colleagues (5%). Furthermore, 110 (90%) GPs were of the view that the drug promotion has definitely an influence on their prescribing pattern. CONCLUSIONS: Since GPs in Pakistan rate pharmaceutical companies as their primary source of information regarding drugs, it can be anticipated that inappropriate advertisement claims would lead to irrational prescribing if physicians had no any other information to follow. (+info)
Influence of attitudes toward curriculum on dishonest academic behavior.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine possible associations between students' self-reported behaviors and opinions towards academic dishonesty, and their attitudes towards curriculum, assessment, and teaching within the pharmacy program. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed and distributed to undergraduate (pre-licensure) students at 4 schools of pharmacy in Canada, including students enrolled in the international pharmacy graduate program. RESULTS: More than 80% of respondents indicated they had participated in one or more of the act of academic dishonesty described in the questionnaire. A weak to moderate correlation was found between students' attitudes towards pharmacy education and their self-reported behaviors related to academic dishonesty. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed previous findings suggesting widespread academic dishonesty as well as a hierarchy of values with respect to students' perceptions regarding severity and importance of academic dishonesty. Despite methodological limitations inherent in examining academic dishonesty, there is a definite need to continue to examine this important issue. While this study indicated only a moderate correlation between attitudes towards curriculum and dishonest behaviors, the problem of academic misconduct is multifactorial and will require ongoing study. (+info)
A new prescription for empirical ethics research in pharmacy: a critical review of the literature.
Empirical ethics research is increasingly valued in bioethics and healthcare more generally, but there remain as yet under-researched areas such as pharmacy, despite the increasingly visible attempts by the profession to embrace additional roles beyond the supply of medicines. A descriptive and critical review of the extant empirical pharmacy ethics literature is provided here. A chronological change from quantitative to qualitative approaches is highlighted in this review, as well as differing theoretical approaches such as cognitive moral development and the four principles of biomedical ethics. Research with pharmacy student cohorts is common, as is representation from American pharmacists. Many examples of ethical problems are identified, as well as commercial and legal influences on ethical understanding and decision making. In this paper, it is argued that as pharmacy seeks to develop additional roles with concomitant ethical responsibilities, a new prescription is needed for empirical ethics research in pharmacy-one that embraces an agenda of systematic research using a plurality of methodological and theoretical approaches to better explore this under-researched discipline. (+info)
Ethical, scientific, and educational concerns with unproven medications.
Quackery (promotion of products that do not work or have not been proven to work) was once a commonly used term within the pharmacy and medical communities. However, an increasingly anti-scientific national climate culminated in passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which granted unprecedented legitimacy to "dietary supplements" that had not been scientifically proven to be effective and/or safe. In part, this was facilitated when professional pharmacy magazines and journals published advertisements and articles promoting these unproven medications. Gradually, pharmacy codes of ethics eliminated references to quackery, and some pharmacy organizations seemed to accept the unproven medications they once exhorted the pharmacist not to sell. The profession's shift in attitude toward unproven medications occurred as the medical community at large began to realize the value of evidence-based medicine. Academicians must resist pressure to present unproven therapies as realistic alternatives for medications with scientific proof of safety and efficacy. They must stress the value of evidence-based medicine and urge students and pharmacists to recommend only those medications with evidence-based proof of safety and efficacy. (+info)
Promotional literature: how do we critically appraise?
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of new and generic drugs coming into the market. The busy practitioner obtains the information from various sources, of which promotional literature forms an important source. The promotional literature provided by the pharmaceutical companies cannot be entirely relied upon; moreover, very few physicians are equipped with the skills of critically appraising it. The new drug should be relevant to the clinician's practice in terms of population studied, the disease and the need for new treatment. The methodology of the study should be carefully judged to determine the authenticity of the evidence. The new drug should be preferred over the existing one if it offers clear advantages in terms of safety, tolerability, efficacy and price. Critical appraisal of promotional literature can provide valuable information to the busy physician to practice evidence-based medicine. (+info)