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Ethical collaboration

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Medicine Cabinet

THE VARIED AND COMPLEX challenges in the health care system require proactive collaborations between the government, patients, professional organizations, and the private sector. Recognizing that each one has a unique role and responsibility, they work together to ensure that medical decisions are made in the best interest of patients. In all their interactions, the health care community upholds principles such as patient focus, integrity, independence, transparency, and accountability. To this end, a consensus framework for ethical collaboration was established between patient organizations, health care professionals and the research pharmaceutical sector in support of high quality patient care.

The International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO), International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), and World Medical Association (WMA) support the Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration.

It aims to ensure that the relationship between patients, health care professionals, the pharmaceutical sector, and their organizations, is based on ethical and responsible decision making. It has four overarching principles, namely: Put Patients First; Support Ethical Research and Innovation; Ensure Independence and Ethical Conduct; and Promote Transparency and Accountability.

The Consensus Framework outlines some of the key areas that should be considered by all partners to help guide ethical collaborations at the individual and organizational levels. It encompasses a shared commitment of organizations representing patients, health care professionals, and the pharmaceutical sector to continually improve health and ensure, in collaboration with other stakeholders, that all patients receive appropriate treatment.

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) representing the research pharmaceutical sector in the country, fully endorses the consensus framework. In signifying its support for the ethical principles, PHAP signed the consensus framework with the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO), which represents at least one million members and local patient advocacy groups, and recently, the Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) representing the approximately 15,000 licensed pharmacists in the country.

“To practice the profession in an ethical manner is one of the key competencies expected of a pharmacy graduate in the Philippines… they were cloaked with white coats by pharmacy leaders and they take their vow to serve within legal, professional and ethical boundaries,” said PPhA President Dr. Yolanda Robles during the signing of the consensus framework. “As patient safety and health outcomes are on top of the agenda, we need to be united in ensuring that these goals are met through ethical practice.”

Under the principle of putting patients as a priority, partners support the attainment of optimal care for all patients and their caregivers. It also recognizes that all partners working in health care have a right and responsibility to collaborate to improve health care access and delivery. Towards this end, establishing partnerships will aim to deliver greater patient benefits.

The second principle encourages the conduct of clinical and related research to generate new knowledge about effective and appropriate use of health treatments. In guaranteeing independence and ethical conduct, the third principle is about interactions that must at all times be ethical, appropriate, and professional. The fourth and final principle supports transparency and accountability in individual and collaborative activities.

We call on organizations to join the health care community in upholding ethical collaboration between patient organizations, health care professionals and the pharmaceutical sector. The ultimate beneficiary of this collaboration is the Filipino patient.

Teodoro B. Padilla is the executive director of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP). Medicine Cabinet is a weekly PHAP column that aims to promote awareness on public health and health care-related issues

medicinecabinet@phap.org.ph