Dilemma 7: After Lorraine, a registered pharmacist, counseled her elderly patient, Mr. James, about his three cardiac maintenance medications at pick up, she was surprised by Mr. James’ final question, “Would you please open these prescriptions and count them for me so that I know I’m getting what I paid for? There was a letter in my favorite advice column last night that told about how you can get shorted on your prescriptions, so I just want to make sure all the pills are there. No offense meant, you understand. I just can’t afford to pay for pills and not get them.” Mr. James’ prescription had been filled by Lorraine’s boss, Glenn, who also owned the pharmacy. Lorraine decided to humor Mr. James and opened the first bottle. To her surprise the prescription was short by three tablets. She immediately made up the difference. The remaining two prescriptions were also short by the same amount. Lorraine added the correct number of tablets to Mr. James’ prescriptions and assured him they contained the correct number of tablets. Mr. James was not the only patient with concerns about shortages that day. Several clients had read the same article and asked for a tablet count. Lorraine took several calls from angry customers complaining of being shorted. She noted all the prescriptions and noticed they all were maintenance medications and all had been short. Glenn had also filled all the prescriptions. When Glenn arrived at the pharmacy, Lorraine told him about what she had discovered and the number of dissatisfied clients that called to complain about shortages. She expected Glenn to have a reasonable answer. He stated “It’s really a shame that advice column printed that letter. We’ll have to stop shorting maintenance prescriptions for a while until people get over the excitement and the need to count every pill.” Lorraine could not believe what she was hearing. ‘You mean that you have been intentionally shorting prescriptions?” Glenn shrugged his shoulders and said “Just the maintenance ones and only on the higher-end products. People don’t miss three or four pills a month and the pharmacy recouped a steady amount. Besides, they always come in for a refill before they run out, so the patients aren’t harmed. Most people forget to take a pill now and then anyway so they never miss the shortage. Four pills a month times three maintenance prescriptions for most patients, times over 1000 patients on these meds – that adds up to a lot tablets that I don’t have to purchase. I won’t stay in business long if I can’t make a profit somewhere. No one is harmed and the pharmacy can stay in business and provide good service to many people who need us.” Lorraine had always admired Glenn but his nonchalant admission of guilt instantly changed her mind about her employer. She had never knowingly shorted a prescription. How could she work for someone who did it as a matter of course? Furthermore, what should she do about this dishonesty in her colleague?
What should Lorraine Do?
What are her Options? Confront Glen and tell him what he is doing is unethical and he must stop Continue as his employee and say nothing Quit her job and move on because she no longer trusts Glen as an employer Immediately report him to the Board of Pharmacy
Reasons she should: V E R A C I T y As a pharmacist she has a obligation to her consumers to be honest and forthcoming She is considering the principle of veracity which states that a health professional should be honest and give full disclosure to the patient, abstain from misrepresentation or deceit, and report known lapses of the standards of care to the proper agencies. She could confront Glen and tell him that his actions are unethical and she will not allow him to continue to deceive the costumers She does not condone his actions and will report him if he doesn’t stop immediately Glen doesn’t loose his license and they continue working together Together they fine ways to address his economical crisis and cut corners to save money
Say Nothing? Reasons not to confront Glen: If she opposes him, Glen may become hostile and callous toward her Her work environment will become unpleasant If she reports him not only will he loose his license she may also loose her job and be unemployed
Quite and Move On: Pro’s Con’s
She will always feel guilty for allowing him to cheat and deceive patients
She may also loose her license for not reporting his deceit
She does not have to put herself in an awkward situation with her boss
She finds a new employer she can trust
Report Him Immediately: Pro’s Lorraine upholds her ethical rights to her patients Glen is punished for being deceitful and stealing from his patients Patients will receive the correct amount of medication Glen will be replaced and she will have a more honest and trustworthy employer Con’s She has to get accustomed to working for a new employer Patients will continue to question the pharmacy and whether they can be trusted
Works Cited TheFreeDictionary.http://medical- dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/veracity