Pharmaceutical Ethics

By Sam Salek; Andrew Edgar | Go to book overview

The Basis of Ethics
JON MERRILLSParkdale House, Nottingham, UKLet’s start by getting some terms clear:
Ethics is the systematic study of what is right and good with respect to conduct and character (1).
There are several other definitions and explanations of pharmaceutical ethics which can be used:
The beliefs and behaviours to which members of the profession subscribe (2).
A critical evaluation of assumptions and arguments (3).
A discussion about what ought to be done or ought not to be done—a discussion about normative behaviour in the context of issues raised in this book.

Ethics is concerned not only with making appropriate decisions about what we ought to do, but also with justifying those decisions.

An ethical dilemma exists where the answer to a particular situation is not clear, or where there is a choice of answers. The fact that there may be more than one solution to a problem is sometimes difficult for scientists to deal with. Scientists have been taught the scientific method, and the certainty of scientific laws. It is, though, the very stuff of law and philosophy. To quote a US writer: “An ethical dilemma occurs when there is a conflict of moral values, creating a situation in which there is no clear right or wrong answer or in which there may be more than one correct solution” (4).

Pharmaceutical Ethics. Edited by S. Salek and A. Edgar. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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