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Policy Compendium

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ETH-042: Relation of Laws to Ethics Policy

 
Relation of Laws to Ethics Policy: Ethical values and legal principles typically are closely related, but ethical obligations often exceed legal duties. Adherence to ethical values does not ensure legal compliance, and adherence to the law may not be sufficient to ensure ethical conduct.

The Society recognizes that physicians’ adherence to the law is essential to maintaining public trust in the medical profession. As such, physicians must respect and abide by applicable law, even if they disagree with it. Physicians should seek to change laws that they believe are contrary to the best interests of the practice of medicine or their patients, but must continue to abide by the law until such time as it is changed. Nothing in the policies of the Society should be interpreted as a suggestion or command that any individual violate any law or legal requirement as it then exists. (HOD, 0416)