Pharmacists and Industry: Guidelines for Ethical Interactions

American College of Clinical Pharmacy

Disclosures

Pharmacotherapy. 2008;28(3):410-420. 

In This Article

Guideline 9

Colleges of Pharmacy and postgraduate pharmacy training programs should incorporate formal instruction on professional ethics into their curricula for pharmacy students, residents, fellows, graduate students, preceptors, and faculty. These educational offerings should address appropriate relationships between pharmacists and industry. In addition, training programs should develop guidelines or formal policies governing interactions between trainees and representatives of industry.

Interactions between pharmacists and industry begin in pharmacy school, continue through training programs, and persist throughout a pharmacist's career. Educating pharmacy students early in the curriculum about the importance of professional ethics can promote and enhance their ethical behavior as practicing pharmacists.[62] In addition to discrete coursework on pharmacy ethics, ethical issues surrounding interactions with industry should be discussed across the professional degree curriculum and especially during the advanced practice experiences under the direction of practitioner role models. Moreover, continuing education of pharmacists at all stages of professional development on specific issues relating to ethical interactions between pharmacists and industry will facilitate maintenance of high ethical standards throughout the profession.

Training programs have unique characteristics, and residents and fellows would benefit from instruction in professional ethics. Companies target training programs because it is more efficient to approach groups than individuals and because faculty and preceptors are viewed as opinion leaders who can shape the behavior of future pharmacists and pharmacy leaders. Thus, pharmacy training programs should include specific learning or competency objectives on ethical interactions between pharmacists and industry, especially using discussion formats that emphasize the subtleties of these interactions. Most important, directors of and preceptors in training programs should lead by example and conduct their interactions with industry representatives in a principled manner.

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