Ethical collaboration among health teams: the key to positive outcomes

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta CPSA, Messenger

Pharmacists and physicians are encouraged to collaborate, with patient-centred care as their focus.

The following is a joint message from CPSA Registrar Scott McLeod and ACP Registrar Greg Eberhart:

In the majority of circumstances, team-based health care and strong clinical partnerships between physicians and pharmacists are essential in providing high-quality care to Albertans.

Patient-centred collaboration is important to both the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA). However, if these relationships are not carried out with the best interest of patients in mind, they can invite ethical dilemmas. This is why both Colleges are working together to ensure ethical practices are followed (particularly when it comes to appropriate prescribing) and there are common expectations regarding compliance with our standards of practice.

The ACP and CPSA support the privilege of “patient choice”—patients should be informed and engaged in where they receive their care. While collaboration between practices is encouraged, it must be carried out independently and separately from business practices.

Going forward, the ACP and CPSA will collaborate to identify any unethical and unprofessional practices. This is to ensure that professional and business agreements between pharmacists and physicians are not based on patient or prescription volumes. The expectation of both Colleges is that pharmacists and physicians will not refer patients to the others services with the intent of personal gain or reward.

Ultimately, pharmacists and physicians all have the same goal: to provide the best care we can to our patients. We can all work together to guide the ethical and professional conduct of our members and mutually address situations that may negatively impact patients or the health system, leading to better outcomes for all.

Questions? These resources might help:

CPSA Standards of Practice: Conflict of Interest and Prescribing: Administration

CPSA Code of Conduct

CPSA Code of Ethics

ACP Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

ACP Code of Ethics