About Dr Betty Chaar

Professional Ethics in Pharmacy Practice: helping pharmacists provide better care

Dr Chaar’s work centres on promoting moral reasoning in the delivery of healthcare services by pharmacists in all aspects of practice, ranging from the everyday matters of pharmacy practice to considerations regarding issues in the broader domain of bioethics. In teaching, researching and writing about professional ethics in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Chaar’s focus is to heighten ethical literacy in the profession and enable pharmacists to reflect on ethical implications of their role in healthcare to society in general and to the individual specifically. Students have greatly benefited from the short course in professional ethics designed and delivered at the Faculty of Pharmacy by Dr Chaar. This course has evolved as a result of the research invested in this topic and is based on analysis of the plethora of ethical dilemmas that may challenge the pharmacist in practice. Students enjoy the open Socratic dialogue and exchange various perspectives to arrive at a richer, in-depth understanding of the issues at hand. This approach creates awareness and enhances moral reasoning skills, allowing students to better understand the moral responsibilities of pharmacy practice and professional conduct expected of them by society.

One of the projects that Dr Chaar is exploring involves researching impairment, in the form of trauma, substance abuse or mental illness, which is a recognised problem amongst health care professionals. The impact impairment could have on patient safety is of particular significance to all stakeholders in health care. The aim is to determine the scope of the problem of impairment in the student and professional population of pharmacy in Australia and to propose a support program providing education, counselling and therapeutic assistance to pharmacists. Another area of interest Dr Chaar is investigating is the ethics of Direct-to-Consumer-Advertising (DTCA) and its impact on pharmacy practice. From the research recently conducted interviewing practitioners in Sydney, it was found that pharmacists in Australia find DTCA has the effect of disempowering their capabilities of safeguarding patient safety and quality use of medicines (QUM). It was also found in another study, that despite Australian regulatory restrictions to DTCA of prescription medicines, consumers have easy access to DTCA by simply conducting a health-related search on the Internet. Further research is being conducted in this field.

An exciting new field of research interest is evolving, exploring the needs of Arabic-speaking patients (in Australia and overseas) with regards to their medicinal therapies. Our studies on elderly Arabic-speaking patients have found numerous influences of culture and tradition on the medicine-taking and information needs of the Arabic-speaking community. Aspiring to achieve shared decision-making and compliance in this population, particularly the elderly with chronic diseases, it is becoming evermore important to heighten awareness of the needs of Arabic-speaking patients. The role of the pharmacist is crucial in relation to adherence and compliance in medicine-taking. This is a growing area of research with outreach to a global population.

Selected publications

1.  Chaar, B  Autonomy vs Best Interests-Direct-to-Consumer-Advertising (DTCA) and the Australian Healthcare Consumer- A Pharmacist’s Perspective Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics Vol 11 p122, May 20102. 
2.  Chaar, B.
, Kwong, K., Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Australian Pharmacists' Experiences with Non-Prescription Medicines International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2010; 18: 43-503. 
3.  Um, I. Armour, C. Krass, I. Gill, T. Chaar, B
* Managing Obesity In Pharmacy [M.O.P.]: The Australian Experience submitted to Pharmacy World & Science accepted July 2010 manuscript number PHAR1004R2
4.  Chaar, B Legislative Change in Australian Pharmacy-History in the Making Australian Pharmacist March 2010 Vol 29 No.3, page 189-cover article. 
5.  Queddeng, K. Chaar, B. Williams, K Emergency Contraception in Australian Community Pharmacies: a simulated patient study accepted for publication in Contraception July 2010 for Feb 2011[Ref. No.: D-09-00142R6]
6.  Chaar, B., Brien, J., and Krass, I., Professional Ethics in Pharmacy Practice - Developing a psychometric measure of moral reasoning. Pharmacy World and Medicine DOI: 10.1007/s11096-009-9292-1 April 2009
7.  Chaar, B., Penm, J. Misconduct: the Pitfall of Pharmacy Practice-A systematic review and analysis of cases of misconduct in Australia. Submitted to Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research April 2009 8.  Chaar, B. Off-Label Dispensing: An Ethical and Legal Dilemma. Australian Pharmacist, January 2008, Vol 27, No.1 p56-59  
9.  Chaar, B. To sell or not to sell? Australian Pharmacist Page 185; volume 25; Number 3; March 2006 10.  Chaar, B. “Introducing the new SHPA Code of Ethics” Editorial.  Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research Vol. 36, No.1 March 2006.
11.  Chaar, B. “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…ethical dilemmas in practice!” Cover Story. Australian Pharmacist June, 2006 Vol.25, No.6. pp 444-449.
12.  Chaar, B., Brien, J., and Krass, I. (2005). Professional ethics in pharmacy: the Australian experience. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 13, 195-204.
13.  Chaar, B Ethics in Pharmacy –AAPAE Newsletter April 2009; P7-9; http://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/aapae/publications/Newsletters/Newsletter-April_2009.pdf
14.  Chaar, B., Brien, J., Krass, I. (2004) Professional Ethics in Pharmacy: The Australian Experience International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2005, 13:195-204.