A pharmacy board caves in to "morals"

Consider the ridiculous scenarios of this ruling. I advise Washington’s Board of Pharmacy to develop some backbone:

What about being refused AZT because a druggist assumes the HIV-positive patient is gay and disapproves of his or her “lifestyle?” (To me that always sounded like disliking someone’s taste in patio furniture rather than one’s inherent sexual orientation.)

What if it’s a pharmacist who may or may not be Tom Cruising spiritual waters aboard the SS Scientology? Say he’s opposed to filling prescriptions for antidepressants? Couldn’t happen? It recently did right here in this state.

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  • Anonymous

    The pharmacy board is absolutely correct. In no other industry in America would this be a big deal. The pharmacy’s policies on what it dispenses are completely between the pharmacy and the pharmacist. If Walgreen’s is ok with employing a pharmacist that has moral qualms in dispensing plan B, then that is Walgreen’s business. In no other industry does the government tell a business what services it has to offer.

    For example,
    Scenario 1: A man walks into an auto repair shop.
    Man: “I have a broken axle on my car and need it fixed immediately.”
    Business: “Sorry, Tony is the only mechanic on duty today and he doesn’t like fixing axles.”
    Man: “But it is an emergency”
    Business: “Deal with it.”

    Scenario 2: A woman walks into a health clinic.
    Woman: “I need an abortion”
    Clinic: “Sorry, Dr. Smith is the only physician on duty today and he refuses to perform abortions”
    Woman: “But it is an emergency.”
    Clinic: “Deal with it.”

    It comes down to the fact that CVS, Walgreens and every other pharmacy, chain or not, is a business in a free country. They can decide to stock whatever drugs they want and dispense them to whomever they want. If a pharmacy is losing business because of a pharmacist’s dispensing habits, they will replace him. There is no need for the government here.

  • Anonymous

    The analogy to doctors who won’t perform abortions is so tired. They aren’t parallel situations.

    In medicine, physicians are expected (or not expected) to perform specific procedures based upon their area of specialization. If I needed knee surgery, I certainly wouldn’t visit my dermatologist, and I wouldn’t get upset if he refused to perform it. It is well known to the public that only ob/gyn’s are even able to perform abortions, and further it is also fairly obvious that most private practices do not offer them (due either to crushing state regulations or their personal preference). What woman in America wouldn’t know to turn specifically to Planned Parenthood or another abortion clinic? What I would find unacceptable is for an ob/gyn to accept a position at an abortion clinic under the expectation that he will perform them, only to turn down women as they come because secretly he is morally opposed. But that would be a fairly ridiculous scenario to even construct.

    Pharmacists, on the other hand, have no such specializations. People don’t turn to one specific pharmacist or pharmacy for diabetic medication, another for opthamic solutions and yet another for womens’ health medications. The assumption is that all pharmacists/pharmacies can and do fill prescriptions, period. If there were such thing as the ability for a pharmacist to choose a position in a pharmacy specializing only in birth control pills and Plan B, then women would know instinctively where to go and the pharmacists who don’t want any part of it could choose to “specialize” elsewhere.

    Anon 4:18, your auto shop analogy would hold more weight if the situation you describe included an element of discrimination and/or moral judgement. Pharmacists don’t randomly reject people’s prescriptions because they just feel like it. They deliberately discriminate against women because they object morally to their lifestyle and medical choices.

    Plus, I think all could argue that blocking access to healthcare and medical treatment is in a different category than not working on someone’s car.

  • Anonymous

    There may be some inconsistencies in any medical provider adopting a pro-life stance while simultaneously refusing to treat individuals on Medicaid or who have no insurance. Does life become less worth protecting once it leaves the womb?

    Obviously one could argue that taking on “too many” patients unable to pay per the providers’ wishes/needs places a strain on his or her practice; thus, rationalizing away the ethical complications, for reasons that are not unsound.

    Then again, I’m sure many women who seek out birth control, abortions, morning after drugs, etc. have their own moral/ethical conflicts to resolve and make the best, if imperfect, choice for them. I don’t agree that it’s appropriate to deny them their choice.

  • Anonymous

    In the hospital where I work we occasionally shut down the ER completely when circumstances warrant it. Patients never seem to understand that the ER is privately owned and has to take care of its bottom line to stay in business. Patients that find out the ER is closed act as if receiving care from our ER is thier God given right, however much to their chagrin this is not the case. If you are going to live in American society you must understand that private businesses can choose their own operating hours and what services they provide.

    Just because you have a prescription for plan B, it is not your God given right to walk into a pharmacy and receive this medication. If the pharmacy has chosen to hire a pharmacist that does not want to fill it, then you are out of luck. The pharmacy does not have to stock this drug and it has sole discretion over who it hires and when the drug is dispensed. This is how private enterprise works.

  • RIght to have valid prescriptions filled

    If you are going to live in American society you must understand that private businesses can choose their own operating hours and what services they provide.

    Unless apparently, that business is Wal Mart or CVS trying to provide that service, and trying to get rid of pharmacists that get in the way of providing that service.

    Pharmacists should not have the discretion to refuse to fill a prescription on moral grounds, only medical ones. And state regulatory agencies have the right to deny them the privilege to practice in the state if they don’t obey standards or state law.

    And states have the right to set standards for pharmacies that want the privilege to dispense prescription medicines.

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