PHAR 5310: Topics in Pharmacy Ethics (Pandemics)

Course Description

It’s a pandemic. When is it ethical for a person to refuse to wear a mask? Who should decide which businesses get to stay open, and which must close? How should it be decided which students get to attend class in-person, and which must learn from home? What groups should be vaccinated first? Second? How should vaccines be distributed to fairly address health disparities?

Using COVID-19 as a model, students in this elective will explore these and other ethical conundrums that impact personal, public policy, and biomedical research decisions during a pandemic. Students will apply ethical principles to discuss and debate these decisions.

NOTE: This course is open to undergraduate students.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate and articulate their own values and ethical beliefs.
  • Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills to articulate how they would apply ethics concepts, teachings from selected philosophers, professional codes of ethics and multicultural ethical considerations to analyze ethical dilemmas in arising in the face of pandemics or other natural disasters.
  • Using ethics concepts, teachings from selected philosophers and professional codes of ethics, justify their recommended courses of action for resolving an ethical dilemma.
  • Describe the ethical underpinnings which might explain the rationale for ethical opinions which differ from their own.


  • Levels of Moral Development
  • Professional Codes of Ethics
  • Introduction to SARVS-CoV-2 Virus
  • Self Interest vs. Others' Interest
  • Vaccine Development
  • Accelerated Clinical Trials
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Primary Care
  • Effectiveness of Masking, Indoor Air Circulation
  • Pandemic Ethics Decisions in the Hospital Environment
  • Evidence Tsunami
  • Triaging During a Pandemic
  • Treating Substance Abuse Disorder During Pandemics
  • Pandemics and Marginalized Communities
  • Who should be at the table?