Ethical and Professional Issues in the Practice of Complementary Medicine in Retail Pharmacies.
Herbalists, naturopaths and other practitioners of complementary medicine (CM professionals) are becoming an increasingly visible phenomenon. This paper aims to provoke thought in the areas of ethics and professional practice in the multidisciplinary health care milieu of the typical retail pharmacy. Complementary medicine (CM) practice in community pharmacy is presented as potentially beneficial for both clients and CM professionals but also one that portends potential conflict in ethical, philosophical and professional areas. The juxtaposition of CM and pharmacy practice raises the potential for inter-professional ethical issues, not only for CM professionals and pharmacists, but for other professionals such as doctors, who particularly in regional and rural areas, may be important pharmacy stakeholders. Some of these issues may be based around differences in the philosophical positions of mainstream and CM medicine. Acknowledgement of CM practice in pharmacies also prompts consideration of big-picture intra-professional issues, particularly around the sociocultural positioning of the CM professions. Throughout the discussion reference is made to areas of health care ethics, including client confidentiality, professional and client autonomy, distributive justice and informed consent. Introduction