A5 - It’s not enough to just be ethical, we also need to be socially responsible and equitable


Organised in collaboration with FIP Ethics Expert Group


Dr Maria Allinson (United Kingdom)


Despite improvements in health care and healthcare disparities in recent times, inequity between patient groups in both health status and access to health care on a global scale continues. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed inequities in healthcare cover around the world, particularly in terms of access to medicines and vaccines. Consequently, there has been a rise in awareness of the importance of health equity and social responsibility in healthcare.

Health inequalities have been associated with poorer healthcare, professional-patient relationships, reluctance to access healthcare, and poorer health outcomes.

Health inequity can occur at systems level (e.g., the expectation that all citizens, young and old, can book their vaccinations online) and at an individual level (e.g., stigma, marginalisation, barriers to access). Marginalised groups, such as people living with HIV, people experiencing homelessness, members of the LGBTQ+ community and ethnic minorities, are particularly prone to inequities as they are seen as being “different” from the general population. It is important to be able to identify groups that may be marginalised at both levels and develop strategies to improve outcomes for these groups.

Pharmacists are trained to be ethical, professional, and law-abiding healthcare professionals, with a focus on pharmaceutical patient-centred care. The question is: are these qualities sufficient? Do we have a moral imperative to enhance our social responsibility? The FIP Global Competency Framework — Early Career Training states:
“4.7.9 Demonstrate awareness of socially accountable practice (including cultural and social needs; cultural safety, respect, and responsiveness; diversity, equity and inclusiveness)”. This clearly articulates that social responsibility is regarded as a competency in pharmacy practice. However, to what extent do we develop and practise this competency?

In order to achieve some components of competency in social responsibility, researchers have proposed, for example, that there is a need to reflect on our training on ethical/professional practice to support more curricula content on these topics and create “educational environments that are more critically reflective of topics like implicit bias, racism, personal histories, and privilege, among others.” This workshop is designed to explore this, as well as other solutions, to strengthening social responsibility in pharmacy.


16:00 – 16:10      Introduction by the chair 
16:10 – 16:35


Drivers of health disparities and health inequity
Dr Jack Collins, The University of Sydney, Australia

16:35 – 17:10


Workshop on implicit bias 
Dr Carl Schneider, The University of Sydney, Australia

17:10 – 17:25  

So, where to from here?
Prof. Sally Arif, Midwestern University, United States

17:25 – 17:30


Conclusion by the chair 


Learning Objectives

  1. To explore/describe how the COVID pandemic has highlighted increased health inequities, whether by a systems approach or an individual approach
  2. To create awareness about implicit bias and its impact on pharmacy practice
  3. To describe the role of the pharmacist in advocating for social justice in health care to address health inequities
  4. To explore ways in which to challenge the status quo of education, training and policy
Back to top