Supporting pharmacists with COVID-19 ethical decision-making framework

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A new guidance framework has been launched to support pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians faced with making difficult decisions linked to the exceptional impact of COVID-19.

The framework has been developed by a diverse group, chaired by Dr Matthew Boyd MRPharmS, Head of the Division of Pharmacy Policy and Practice at the University of Nottingham and Vice Chair of the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA). It has recently been published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The guidance provides helpful reminders about the process of reasoned decision making, the national pandemic ethical framework and some considerations about specific areas of importance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The varied experiences of the guidance contributors brings together a wide range of up to the moment professional issues that many may or will be facing.

The guidance can be used to support colleagues involved in strategic planning, or front-line roles and is for use by pharmacy professionals in all settings.


The willingness of so many senior members of our professional family to volunteer to contribute to this document, and at speed, summarises the drive and compassion amongst our number for high standards of patient care. The guidance has had comment from all sectors of the pharmacy team to provide maximum coverage. Appropriately applied, the frameworks should support all required decisions during the pandemic.
Dr Matthew Boyd

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be reassured that should decisions be called into question at a later date, they will be judged according to the circumstances at the time of the decision, not with the benefit of hindsight.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said: “In times such as these, individuals have to demonstrate professional integrity and work flexibly, sometimes across professional boundaries, to ensure the best realistic outcomes for patients."


This framework will help pharmacy professionals to take responsibility for making difficult but informed decisions. It provides reassurance that those decisions are the right thing to do given the pandemic situation
Royal Pharmaceutical Society President, Sandra Gidley

The guidance is supported by the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Pharmaceutical Society NI and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK.

The pandemic situation is constantly evolving and members are advised to also follow all the latest COVID-19 updates at

The guidance can be accessed here: COVID-19 ethical, professional decision-making framework 

Story credits

More information is available from Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science at the University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5751 or or Dr Matthew Boyd on

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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