, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 179-186

The Conflict Between Ethics and Business in Community Pharmacy: What About Patient Counseling?

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Abstract

Patient counseling is a cornerstone of ethical pharmacy practice and high quality pharmaceutical care. Counseling promotes patient compliance with prescription regimens and prevents dangerous drug interactions and medication errors. Counseling also promotes informed consent and protects pharmacists against legal risks. However, economic, social, and technological changes in pharmacy practice often force community pharmacists to choose between their professional obligations to counsel patients and business objectives. State and federal legislatures have enacted laws that require pharmacists to counsel patients, but these laws have had mixed results. This essay argues that community pharmacy's patient counseling conundrum can be solved through additional moral education and moral persuasion, not through additional legal mandates.