Essay Sample Discussing the Responsibilities of a Pharmacist toward a Patient

Published: 2022-08-26
Essay Sample Discussing the Responsibilities of a Pharmacist toward a Patient
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Pharmacology
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1173 words
10 min read

Identify and discuss the duties and responsibilities of a pharmacist toward a patient

A pharmacist is accountable to the patient's well-being by the first being morally obliged to the patient as a reciprocation of the trust the patients have bestowed in them. This trust, therefore, calls for the perception of the relationship between the two parties as a covenant that must be upheld to the latter. The pharmacist must also uphold the autonomy and dignity of the patient by involving them in the decisions regarding their medications and making them certain that their opinions count. As of any professional ethical codes, pharmacists are as well expected to treat their clients, with care, compassion, and concern, acknowledging their emotional needs in as much as their medical needs are a priority (America Pharmacists Association, 2018). They must also be discrete and confidential with the patients' medical information, to ensure that the patient feels safe and covered. There also comes into the picture, the professional relationships between colleagues, and the obligation of the pharmacist to the community at large. High levels of professionalism are advocated for when it comes to the interactions between colleagues. A pharmacist is also expected to serve the community accordingly, apart from their obligation to serve individual patients. Such communal services might include the fair and just allocation of medical resources to all.

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Based on your research and assessment of the case, did the pharmacist perform the required duties and uphold patient rights?

The code of conduct for pharmacists makes pharmacists susceptible to facing the law through administrative, regulatory as well as criminal prosecution as dictated by the Controlled Substance Act, CSA. Pharmacists are granted the responsibility of putting the needs and safety of the patients before anything else. These instances go even against the will and might of a patient or the instructions and directions of the physician. The 2013 inspection on The Medicine Shoppe by the drug enforcement administration, DEA, presented such a scenario, as the pharmacy was accused of filling a prescription that was not for a legitimate medical purpose. This, therefore, implied that the pharmacist alongside the physician neglected their corresponding responsibility in ensuring that the prescription for a controlled substance was issued for a legitimate medical purpose. The DEA's deputy administrator, therefore, issued an order to show cause (OTSC) to revoke the controlled substances Certificate of Registration (COR) of the pharmacy(Jeffrey, 2016). The corresponding responsibility puts the pharmacists in a similar spot as the physician who had examined the patient. This is a strategy launched by the DEA with the aim of fighting the controlled substance abuse, as it is one of the most abused substance. By ignoring the red flags attached to the abuse of controlled substances, and ignorantly filling the prescription, the pharmacy violated the conduct that dictates their upholding of the welfare of the patient.

Is the pharmacy at fault? Why or why not?

The pharmacists are faced with the responsibility of not merely validating and verifying the prescription as filled by the physician, but to also resolve all the signs that might lead to an illicit prescription and use of the controlled substances. The controversies surrounding medications medical marijuana, lethal injections, and hospice and palliative care necessitated the discretion and autonomy of a pharmacist in filling these drugs. However, in response to the claims, the defense of the Medicine Shoppe stated that the pharmacists knew the patient well, and had contacted the physician before administering the medication(Jeffrey, 2015). The question that follows this therefore is, does the knowledge of the patient's needs, and consent of the physician clear the intentions and actions of a pharmacist? With the dangers that the abuse of the controlled substances pause on the individual patients as well as the community, it is clear that it goes beyond the consent and acknowledgment of a patient's needs, but rather a professional decision that must be deeply rooted within the facts and figures of the threats and red flags of the abuse. This, therefore, proves the pharmacy guilty of ignoring the corresponding responsibility and acting in a way that affects the wellbeing of the patient.

What impact can a pharmacist's actions have on patients and the community?

For centuries, the DEA has made it its core mission to eradicate drug and substance abuse, and the recent threat has presented itself with the abuse of controlled substances. Drugs like medical marijuana, pain/hospice and palliative care, and lethal injections have been introduced in the pharmacies for medical purposes, but some pharmacists have made it a habit of diverting these drugs to the wrong groups of people. The people or rather professionals so trusted by the community to cater for their medical needs, uphold their medical security and shield them from health hazards are now the same people channeling these drugs to undeserving individuals. The least of the effects have been pointed to addictions and petty crime, while the extreme ends record chronic effects on the abusers and even death. Pharmacies lie nearly on every street, mall, chain store and so on, making them easily accessible to "patients" who might want to abuse the drugs. There is also at stake, the loss of faith in pharmaceutical shops and institutions, an issue that snatches the one vital tool held by pharmacists to their clients.

What precautions can be taken to ensure these types of incidents by allied professionals don't happen to others? Should there be more regulations in place?

It is unfortunate that many pharmacists fall alongside the prescribing physicians, even without having to be the ones who had conducted the medical examination. Therefore, to ensure that these incidences don't follow the collateral damage route, the regulations should be hard on the physician since they are the ones who have all the facts on the patient. This is not to say that the pharmacists should fill drugs ignorantly, but by emphasizing the physician places the pharmacists at a better position. The pharmacists should also take it upon themselves to familiarize with the red flags, among them geographical anomalies, pattern prescribing, the quality and quantity of medication, cash payments among others (cote, 2013). One can never be too safe, and therefore more regulations should be put to narrow down the chances of such occurrences while still enabling those medically excusable to use the controlled substances, have access to them. The patients should also be liable to their actions, thus ensuring that all those involved in the chain of prescribing the medicine are accountable for their actions.


American pharmacists association (2018). Code of ethics: code of ethics for pharmacists. Retrieved from

Cote Lorre (2013). A Pharmacist's Obligation: Corresponding Responsibility and Red Flags of Diversion. DEA chronicles.

Jeffrey C. G (2015). The Medicine Shoppe v. Loretta Lynch: Pharmacists' corresponding responsibility with physicians under DEA interpretation of the "Legitimate Medical Purpose" Standard. Bepress. Pp. 1-30

Jeffrey C. G. (2016). The medicine Shoppe v. Loretta lynch, et al.: pharmacists and prescribing physicians are equally liable. The Health Lawyer; Chicago Vol. 28, Issue. 3. Pp. 28-37.

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