London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2009.
553 pages.

This very thorough examination of all legal aspects of the practice of pharmacy in the United Kingdom is the ninth edition of a popular text, widely used as a resource for pharmacists and in the training of future pharmacists in the UK. It is perhaps of less relevance to Australia, except that it could serve as a superb model for a similar text prepared in the Australian context of legal and ethical frameworks.

The book has benefited from years of revision, but also updates the reader about the 'plethora of legal changes that have been promulgated in recent years'. It is thoroughly researched, well indexed and is presented in a user-friendly style of headings and subheadings, with the added convenience of a summary at the end of each chapter, further reading suggestions and websites. The examples given to clarify complex issues are particularly useful to practitioners. Comparative analyses with other professions are also illuminating.

The majority of the 27 chapters are dedicated to explanation and examples of cases relating to various sections of the Medicines Act 1968. There are chapters about miscellaneous legislation relevant to the profession, explanation of the roles of various bodies to which the profession is attached, and rules relating to registration as a pharmacist in the UK.

The chapter dedicated to professional conduct is limited in scope, by the authors' own admission, to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Code of Ethics. It does however clarify to the reader the exact status of the code and how pharmacists are bound by criminal, administrative and civil law as well as by the Code. In practical terms, the reader is taken through the principles and short explanations in clear unambiguous language, with references for further reading for those interested in more in-depth analyses of ethical principles underlying the Code.

The chapter on fitness to practise is of particular interest to those following the current roll-out of new legislation regarding pharmacy and other healthcare professions in Australia. The authors explain in detail the role of the various committees set up to address the diverse types and levels of misconduct and impairment, providing examples to elucidate stratification of jurisdiction and powers of these committees.

Although focused on the UK, this book is a valuable resource for those involved or interested in the legal and ethical framework of pharmacy practice outside Australia. It is an illuminating and helpful resource, not only because there are many similarities and universal practices in the pharmacy professions of western countries, but also in light of the current changes in Australian legislation.

Betty Chaar

Lecturer, Pharmacy Practice and Professional Ethics in Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney