Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pharmacist's right to refuse a prescription

For those not familiar with this topic, a Male pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for the controvertial "morning after pill". It is a pill that if taken correctly, can reduce the chance of proegnancy if taken with in 72 hours of sex. I wont get into the chemistry or pharmacoedynamics of the pill, unless it is requested (e-mail me if you want specific info). The pharmacist refused to fill the prescription based on religious morals. A blog page I ran accross was ranting ..."where does a pharmacist get the right to decide what can be despensed and what cannot?"

First, a pharmacist does not decide what is or is not dispensed, in the USA, the FDA does this. A pharmacist does however decide what THEY will or will not despense. This power is given to them under all state laws allowing pharmacist the right to refuse to fill any prescription. Not a boss, police, govt official nor even a judge can over-ride this decision. But the customer has the right to go to a different pharmacy. Even if it is not convenient. The law does not guarantee convenience.

The question is wether the pharmacist should be allowed to let religion influence his decisions on despensing. I can ask you, who can not allow their beliefs to influence their decisions. If they are true beliefs, they can not be turned on and off with a time card for work. If the pharmacist worked for a public company, could the company dis-charge the pharmacist for this?... absolutely. Would some call this religious persecution, probably, but the pharmacist would be representing the company they work for and not themselves. There is a set standard of practice that each company has and each pharmacist agrees to follow. Quitting or not seeking a job with the company that conflicts with your beliefs would be more appropriate. But this pharmacist was working for himself and as such, has the right to determine what he will or will not do in his own business. He will suceed or fail based on his practice. So boycott his store, refuse to do business with him, or flock to his pharmacy, if you agree with his decision. But, allow him his rights to choose how he does business.

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