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Practice Reminder – limiting treatment of self and family members

June 15, 2016

ACP has recently been made aware of instances where pharmacists have provided pharmacy services to themselves and members of their immediate family.

Pharmacists are reminded that in almost all circumstances, they are not permitted to provide pharmacy services to themselves, their immediate family members, or those with whom they have a close personal relationship.

Not only is this practice not clinically sound – as it’s difficult to ensure an independent, objective assessment of appropriateness occurs – it often leads to colleagues questioning the pharmacist’s motives for providing self-treatment. As health professionals who recognize the importance and value of the services we provide, we must seek out appropriate pharmacy services for ourselves and family from an objective, independent pharmacy provider. This needs to take precedence over business relationships.

As a reminder, SPPPT 1.17 and Code of Ethics Principle 3 (guideline 4) state:

SPPPT 1.17
A pharmacist must not prescribe a drug or blood product for:

a) the pharmacist,
b) a family member of the pharmacist, or
c) anyone else with whom the pharmacist has a close personal relationship; except for minor conditions, in an emergency, or when another prescriber is not readily available to prescribe the drug or blood product.

Principle 3
Limit treatment of myself or members of my immediate family only to minor conditions, emergency circumstances or when another appropriate health professional is not readily available.

Examples of self-treatment that are likely inappropriate, include:

a)    Dispensing drugs that have a potential for misuse/abuse for yourself or family members.

b)    Dispensing drugs for chronic conditions for yourself or family members. Dispensing medications for chronic conditions requires ongoing monitoring by a pharmacist. It is likely inappropriate for a pharmacist to dispense drugs for self and family for these conditions.

 Examples of self-treatment that may be appropriate, include:

a)    Selling a Schedule 2 drug to yourself or a family member on one occasion (for a minor, self-limiting condition).

b)    Dispensing a drug to your 12 year old child to treat a minor condition on an evening when another pharmacist is not readily available.