Conscience Victory for Pharmacists 

New guidance by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will allow pharmacists to practice in line with their beliefs and not act against their conscience.

Earlier draft guidance released by the GPhC might have forced pharmacists to act against their conscience, for example, Christian pharmacists may have been compelled to provide access to abortifacient drugs. New guidance, however, states that “Pharmacy professionals have the right to practice in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs.”

It is a very welcome move by the GPhC and its Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin, in announcing the change, said “We recognise and respect that a pharmacy professional’s religion, personal values and beliefs are often central to their lives and can make a positive contribution to their providing safe and effective care to a diverse population.”

The Christian Institute, which had threatened the GPhC with legal action after hundreds of Christian professionals had raised objections, said that: “This is a relief for pharmacists. It simply shows a bit of respect for people of faith and by doing so should more or less maintain the status quo in practice for pharmacists and their customers. The new rules are certainly not perfect, but there is a rebalancing which takes on board the rights of pharmacists and the need to balance those with the rights of service users.”