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Introduction to ethics

Hi everyone, my name is Shao-Chin Chiang, the deputy director of pharmacy in Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Taipei, Taiwan. Today, we’ll going to discuss a very important issue, which is ethics in pharmacy practice. Ethics in pharmacy practice. I except someone did never contact a person, as long as you have a contact with people that you have ethical problem. And pharmacist is an occupation that need to have very high frequent contact with people, including patients, including physicians, nurses, others. So, pharmacists always have to deal with the ethical problem. So, today, this is our outline. We are going to discuss what is ethics. And, also what is bioethics, medical ethics and pharmacy ethics.
And, we need to understand how does human being learn medical ethics. And, what are the four principles in medical ethics. And, then how to workup an ethical problem. And, lastly, we will look at the code of ethics developed by professional pharmacy societies. And, then we will have a conclusion. Ok! Let’s look at the definition. Ethics is the systematic study of what is right and wrong. So, ethics is a study, is a learning content, you can say it’s a subject. It is like the subject all the subject in pharmacy school we need to learn. Just like pharmaceutics, just like pharmacokinetics, so, ethics is one of the subject that pharmacy students or pharmacists need to know or should need to learn.
And ethics is a discussion about what ought to be done or ought not to be done. Ethics is a discussion, it didn’t give you the standard, what is correct or what is wrong, but we are going to discuss about what we ought to do or what we ought not to do. Ethics also is concerned with making a appropriate decision about what we ought to do. It’s as appropriate, there is no best decision, there is only a appropriate decision. Because you always have certain problem, certain consideration, that make your final decision different. Ethics is concerned with justifying those decisions. Not only we need to know how to make the decision, we also need to explain why we make the decision.
This is the reason why we need to learn this subject. Ok! Ethics is a very basic human relationship. If we apply the ethics principle to different area, different profession, then it becomes those applied ethics. You could have many applied ethics in different professions and if we applied the ethical principle in the live science, then it becomes bioethics. So, bioethics by definition, it’s a discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and application especially in medicine. And if we applied the bioethics into the medical practice, then we refer to medical ethics. So, the definition is the application of ethical reasoning to medical decision-making. So, this is the relationship, we have basic or classic ethics, and then we have applied ethics.
Applied ethics in which we apply the method and principals of moral philosophy in dealing with different practical issues in human life. If we focus on medicine or bioscience, then that which is become bioethics. Then bioethics would dealing with different ethical issues occurring in life science. So, this is the relationship between the classic ethics, applied ethics and bioethics. So, under bioethics, you still have more different specialized filed those people they need to deal with the ethics. So, you will see there are medical ethics, gene ethics, health care ethics, pharmacy ethics.

Chiang first go over the definitions and the different levels of ethics.

Key points

Ethics is the systematic study of what is right and wrong. It’s about what should and should not be done. Ethics is a discussion without a fixed standard. There is no best decision, only an appropriate decision, and ethics is concerned with justifying those decisions.

Ethics principle becomes applied ethics when applied to a specific field of study. For example bioethics is a discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and application especially in medicine. That can further branch out into different specializations.

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What do you think are the fields of applied ethics pharmacists should be familiar with?

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Good Pharmacy Practice: Pharmaceutical Services

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