Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care

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Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care
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Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care
Pharmacists offer various intermediary and vital services in medicine. Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, their scope of practice, duties and responsibilities have shifted dramatically, as have the situations in which pharmacists practice (Pharmacists Defence Association, 2008, p. 2). The laws pertaining to these shifting roles and increased responsibilities have failed to emerge in due time (Appelbe, 2002; Appelbe, 2009). Accordingly, they lag behind reality. For example, pharmacists provide care in case of emergencies but also suffer from lack of legal protection from malpractice in such situations, face ethical challenges relative to dispensing some forms of pharmaceuticals and providing consultations for patients (PDA, 2008, p. 2, 3). More importantly, perhaps, the rise of large-scale pharmacies has alternately shifted the role of pharmacists in the pharmaceutical sector from owner to employee (p. 3). Even though this changed the insurance burdens for the pharmacists, it has not shielded them from civil suits (Appelbe, 2009). Rather, legal protections afforded physicians do not apply to pharmacists, in many cases (PDA, 2008, p. 2-4). This challenges pharmacists for numerous reasons especially since pharmacists find themselves in a legally marginal place while providing necessary care. Ethics, roles, and scope of practice understandably then exceed the legal recognition thereof and the protections that should be afforded pharmacists (p. 2-4). While pharmacists actively intervening within medical emergencies and providing care and/or pharmaceuticals to patients falls within the scope of duty given the ethics of the profession and their training, these interventions additionally place the pharmacists in a legally precarious place. As demonstrated by the...
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