3.1. ETHICS AND VALUES Every patient and consumer using the

healthcare system has the right to access

quality care, which is given based on the

best knowledge available. Healthcare

providers must base their recommendations

on their scientific knowledge, and the

reasoning behind the decisions should be

transparent and evidence based. Most

importantly, the pharmacist has to

recognize the health and wellbeing of the

patient as his first and foremost priority.

The basis of successful healthcare is that the

patient can trust the care and the

environment where this care is given, as

well as on the healthcare provider. If this

trust is lost or challenged, the whole system

will fail. In fact, pharmacists have

traditionally been one of the most trusted

professionals both in global and national or

local evaluations 24.

The legislative framework, regulations and

economical models must be structured so

that they facilitate and support safety,

quality and independent decision making in

pharmacies. Only qualified persons should

be able to work as pharmacists and their

basic and continuing education should be

adequate. Pharmacies should be licensed

and regulated, and should be seen as part of

the health care system. In addition,

economic, social, and technological changes

in pharmacy practice should not force

community pharmacists to choose between

their professional obligations to counsel

patients and business objectives 25.

Pharmacists have traditionally been a liberal

profession with a right to control their own

professional activities. Pharmacists have

been members of their professional

organisations, which have often had some

governmental tasks such as registering the

members of the profession or/and

controlling professional discipline. In

Europe and in other countries such as

Australia, community pharmacists have

either owned their pharmacies or worked in

a pharmacy owned by another pharmacist.

But changes have been occurring in a

significant number of countries, and

increased liberalisation in the distribution

system has occurred.

The big challenge to pharmacists and their

organisations is how to adapt to the

changing conditions. Ownership of

pharmacies has and will continue to change,

and the focus has to be on the independence

of the pharmacy profession and the

possibility of pharmacists to practice

according to quality standards 26.

In these circumstances, the development of

model standards of practice for practicing

pharmacists, regardless of their practice

setting or model, is overriding. These

standards should be designed to ensure the

provision of a quality service to patients in

accordance with appropriate legislation and

policies, and should take into account the

existence of a code of ethics.