Pharmacists' increased legal liability in the context of an expanding role
The practice of pharmacy has changed over recent years with moves to a greater emphasis on the patient and the provision of patient care services. This expanding role of pharmacists, as medication managers, has resulted in changes to their professional responsibility and potential legal liability. Recent international case law demonstrates an increased legal liability of pharmacists in certain instances. However, the liability of pharmacists in the evolving changes of pharmacy practice towards patient care in Australia has yet to be clarified. Much work has recently been done to promote open disclosure, incident reporting and the development of medication safety processes in the public system. There is, however, a dearth of information regarding community pharmacy practice processes and the extent to which pharmacists apply nationally recognised professional practice standards to improve risk management procedures. This study investigates pharmacists' application and utilisation of nationally developed professional practice standards endorsed by the Pharmacists Board of Queensland. The evaluation of Board disciplinary cases and cases referred to the Health Practitioners Tribunal provide information on the extent to which the standards are being considered in disciplinary actions. Analysis of the disciplinary information will be used to design questions for in-depth interviews with community pharmacists, which will be carried out determine their risk management procedures concerning dispensing errors and near-misses. The results will assist in clarifying pharmacists' potential legal liability in the provision of the newer medication management services and provide information to be used in the development of risk management procedures.
16th World Congress on Medical Law Proceedings