Pharmacy Board: “Be professional on social media”


technology computer laptop digital online social media

Pharmacists have been reminded that the Code of Conduct applies to all online activity—including public forums and closed groups

The Social media policy and Code of conduct for pharmacists both apply to all digital activity, including public forums and in closed groups, says the Pharmacy Board.

Anyone using social media to advertise a regulated health service needs to meet the advertising requirements of the National Law, it adds.

“This includes removing any testimonials from a pharmacist’s social media page.

“The Code of conduct for pharmacists sets out the required standards of professional behaviour, which apply to interactions in person and online,” the Board continues.

It outlines useful principles for online activity, including:

  • Maintain professional standards and be aware of the implications of your actions, as in all professional circumstances;
  • Be aware of your ethical and regulatory responsibilities when you are interacting online – they are the same as when you interact in person;
  • Ensure you protect the privacy and confidentiality of patient information; and
  • Comply with the advertising provisions in the National Law and with the Board’s advertising guidelines.

Meanwhile research shows consumers want to see their pharmacists active and engaged on social media.

PrescribeWellness’ 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey found 78% of Americans would consider following their pharmacist on social media – in fact, 48% already do so.

And 42% say they wish their pharmacist were more active on social media.

According to respondents, the top benefits of following their pharmacist on social media would be to find out about deals and promotions (58%); to find out about new offerings or services (39%); for health care news (37%); for news and tips on health and wellness (37%) and for seasonal vaccine reminders (31%).

Reprimands to be removed

In other Pharmacy Board news, reprimands can now be removed from the national register of practitioners after five years.

The National Boards have agreed that a policy was needed to ensure that reprimands are removed from the national register in a “consistent and effective way”.

According to the Pharmacy Board, a reprimand imposed under the National Law is removed from the national register on the publication end date set by the relevant panel.

Beginning October 2, where a panel or tribunal has not set a publication end date, the reprimand will be removed no earlier than five years from the date of initial publication.

This is subject to:

  • The practitioner making an application for removal of a reprimand;
  • No relevant event having occurred in the five-year period of publication of the reprimand; and,
  • Legal advice confirming the power to remove a reprimand imposed under previous legislation.

“A relevant event is any health, performance or conduct notification, action taken against the practitioner relating to an adverse disclosure on renewal of registration, new information returned on a criminal history check or a confirmed breach of restrictions,” explains the Pharmacy Board.

“New notifications, irrespective of whether action was taken, will also be taken into account if an application for removal of a reprimand is received after the five-year period of publication.”

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