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Ethics, or the lack or attenuation thereof, is an important issue facing practicing pharmacists today. There are both statutory and regulatory provisions to support the requirement of ongoing education and training in ethics. Evidence of formal disciplinary actions by the California State Board of Pharmacy faced requiring pharmacists to take a formal course in ethics as a condition of retention of licensure is sufficient to demonstrate that pharmacists are deviating from the expectations consistent with ethical behavior. Periodic review of the principles of beneficence, non-malfeasance, autonomy, and justice would benefit pharmacists in practice, as evidence infers that a pharmacist’s moral reasoning erodes with time. Additional training in ethics may be beneficial to the practicing pharmacist, particularly since there is evidence to support that pharmacists with a higher capacity for moral reasoning demonstrated a higher level of clinical performance. Faced with professionals committing ethical breaches compromising their license and the dilemmas created by the commercialization of healthcare, the California State Board of Pharmacy is warranted in their requirement that a portion of the 30 hours of continuing education required for continued licensure be grounded in the training of ethics.

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Originally published in the California Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 30(1), 17-20. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.