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Pharmacy students develop ethics initiative for pharmaceutical industry


9 December 2009

UG final year students Jane Jian Jie, Daniel Kong and Penelope Redmann.
UG final year students Jane Jian Jie, Daniel Kong and Penelope Redmann.

Four final year Pharmacy students from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney have recently been invited by the St James Ethics Centre to post their end of year assignments in Pharmacy Ethics on the newly established 'Hub', a website established to raise awareness about responsible business practiceon the "If this product could talk: Product Roadmaps" page.

The students developed a superb series of 'product road maps' that examine the development, production and marketing of pharmaceutical products, in an effort to promote socially responsible and environmentally sustainable business practices in this sector.

The 'road-maps' have been published as the first examples of their kind on the Federal Government funded 'Hub' website, which has been designed as 'a consolidated space for engagement, interaction and connectivity to help build communities of responsible business practice in Australia'.

Jane Jian Jie, Daniel Kong, Eleanor Jay and Penelope Redman, developed their ideas based on professional ethics lectures that form part of their final year curriculum. This series of lectures prompted the students to further consider environmental and social responsibility in the pharmacy profession.

" It's important to consider the social and environmental impacts of your work no matter what industry you're in" said Penelope. "There's a lot of focus around ethics in pharmacy practice in terms of patient care, but there are also many improvements that could be made in the pharmaceutical industry - the key is cross divisional cooperation, its much harder to make these improvements if you're working in isolation".

"I'm very proud of these students, their efforts were phenomenal and they've produced something really valuable here" said Dr Betty Chaar, Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice and Professional Ethics at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

"It's the first time that pharmacy students in Australia have ventured this far to make a thought provoking attempt to analyse and reflect on social responsibility and environmentally sustainable practice in the sector".

Product roadmaps, as defined by the website, identify the social and environmental impacts of a specific sector or product throughout the supply chain and then identify areas for improvement, cross-participant opportunities, government responses and tools that can assist to increase responsible business practices.

The website is part of the National Responsible Business Practice Project, which is funded by the Federal Government (through Treasury), and has been set up to enable St James Ethics Centre to engage Australian businesses in identifying and adopting more responsible business practices.

The four road maps consider different elements of responsible manufacture, from tempering profits with social responsibility (e.g. development of drugs for diseases that represent the greatest global need), disclosure of data from clinical trials, to the environmental, ethical and sustainability issues associated with waste, packaging and marketing of pharmaceutical products.

Rosemary Sainty (Head, Responsible Business &CRLeaders Project and UN Global Compact Focal Point for Australia at the St James Ethics Centre) commented on the students work saying;

"We were so impressed with the motivation and engagement of these students, each of whom was able to develop a unique road map of their own individual effort specifically tailored to the pharmaceutical industry. This has also highlighted to us the importance of this compelling method of educating in ethical decision making and sustainable impacts in practice"

The student's road maps are available to view and download here: Eleanor Jay, Daniel Kong, Jane Jian Xie, Penelope Redman.

For more information on Pharmacy Practice and Professional Ethics please contact Dr Betty Chaar at b.chaar@pharm.usyd.edu.au.

The St James Ethics Centre 'Hub' website can be viewed at http://thehub.ethics.org.au/sme/build_your_own.


Contact: Claire Riordan

Phone: 02 9351 2311

Email: 213b0d28181c2d0a751b0b0716061a10322d086553211074361a