The Code of Conduct for Pharmacists

Review of the Code of Conduct 

A review of the Code of Conduct for Pharmacists commenced in 2017. The current Code is in place since 2009 and the review was undertaken to ensure it continues to reflect the current environment, the evolving role of pharmacists and a changing health service. This review involved a substantial process of research and engagement with pharmacists, stakeholders and the public. In 2017, we invited a wide range of feedback on the Code to help us consider any changes that might be needed in a revised Code. Following this consultation, and engagement with relevant experts, the Code was revised and updated, and a public consultation was carried out in August 2018, and a summary of the consultation is available.

The revised Code will acknowledge the changes that have taken place in the delivery of healthcare in recent years, the evolving role of pharmacists and the exercise of professional judgement by pharmacists in the fulfilment of their professional responsibilities to patients and the public. The new Code will focus on ensuring that all pharmacists practise in a way that maintains and improves the health, wellbeing, care and safety of patients. 

The new Code will be launched on 25 September 2019 to coincide with World Pharmacist Day. All pharmacists will receive a copy of the new Code in advance of the launch date, and a series of events on the Code will take place this autumn. We will be communicating further details on the dates and locations of the events over the coming weeks. 

The updated Code of Conduct will be effective from 21 October 2019.

Code of Conduct (2009)

This six-principle Code is a public declaration of ethical standards which govern the practice of pharmacy and which the public, patients and other healthcare professionals require and expect of pharmacists.

The primary principle of the Code requires that the practice by a pharmacist of his/her profession must be directed to maintaining and improving the health, wellbeing, care and safety of the patient.

The Code applies to all registered pharmacists and is intended to provide support and guidance in their professional practice. Every pharmacist has an obligation to comply in full with the statutory Code of Conduct.  Breaches of the Code may be considered professional misconduct by a pharmacist.

Every pharmacist is personally responsible under the Code of Conduct for his/her own acts or omissions, but they may also be responsible under the Code for the acts or omissions of persons operating under their direction, control or supervision.

Reflecting on the Code of Conduct, the PSI developed a Patient Charter, which is intended to reflect those standards as they relate to people availing of the professional services, advice and care provided by a community pharmacist. The Patient Charter outlines what patients can expect from their pharmacist.