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Upholding Ethics in the Face of Crisis

First of all, I want to take this moment to thank each one of you for upholding the standards of treatment for all in this incredibly trying time. Your work is essential to helping all patients get the care they need and deserve.

Pharmacists are in the business of helping others, and as part of that, we have a duty to treat all patients with the same level of respect and care. All pharmacists take the Oath of the Pharmacist at some point in our careers, which includes the vow to “consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns,” and to “hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical, and legal conduct.”

In times of a crisis like the one we are currently facing, we must remember that other health issues do not go away. Even in the face of a new virus, people still need their existing prescriptions. As much as we want to ensure that there is enough medication for treatment of COVID-19 victims, we still have a responsibility to provide for all patients—to uphold our oath and adhere to our standards of care. Hoarding drugs, inappropriate prescriptions, and diverting medications all run counter to our vows as pharmacists and to our focus on providing the best care we can to those who need it.