Holistic Approach in Choice
of Pharmaceutical Agents:
Welsh School of Pharmacy Centre for Socioeconomic Research, University of Wales, Cardiff, UK
Significant changes are taking place within society. For healthcare systems to remain effective in addressing the current needs of their clients, consideration must be given to newly evolving individual priorities. Changes in our communities, economies, ideas, relationships and personal perceptions of health are shifting values and expectations; these new outlooks must be reflected in healthcare decision-making as part of our professional ethical responsibility. Increasingly, patients are seeking greater autonomy and an improved quality of life as well as quantity of life. As a reflection of the move by healthcare professionals to accommodate these changing needs, the concept of a holistic approach to treatment decision-making must become an integral part of day-to-day healthcare delivery. Moreover, in an effort towards fulfilling our ethical responsibilities, there should be a complete shift from the more traditional approaches in medicine towards full patient orientation. It therefore becomes paramount to recognize the importance of evaluating the holistic approach to the treatment of patients, through attaching equal weight to clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes in the clinical decision-making process, including choice of pharmaceutical agents. In this chapter, basic principles and fundamental elements of the holistic approach to treatment decision-making, such as patient perspective, patient autonomy, patient choice, patient empowerment, paternalism and informed/active par-
Pharmaceutical Ethics. Edited by S. Salek and A. Edgar.
© 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.