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Minerva Medicolegale 2011 March;131(1):7-11

language: English

Self-prescribing and prescription to family members of not controlled drugs for minor ailments: an ethical analysis

Cervoni E.

Central Lancashire PCT, Leyland, UK


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Aim. The aim of this paper was to examine the ethical dilemmas of self-prescribing and prescribing to family members of not controlled drugs for minor ailment.
Methods. Review of the literature on the topic and ethical analysis of 2 real case scenarios with discussion of rationale, and cost-effectiveness of prescribing.
Results. Self-prescribing and prescribing to family members for minor, common, ailment is common practice. It may be cost-effective and ethically preferable to curbsiding colleagues. The clinical benefits of the ban and the way the society may be benefit from it are not clear and theoretically dubious.
Conclusion. Current literature confirms that most prescribers have engaged in self-prescribing, prescribing to family members, and curbsiding. Self-prescribing for common, minor ailment, of not controlled drugs may make sense, particularly if a limited amount of medication is supplied. The advantage of a ban is at the least not evidence-based. It can be argued that curbsiding is more ethically problematic than self-prescribing because it implicates a third party.

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