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Pharmacists refusing to fill orders for The Pill

Posted
KarenAR KarenAR (Member)

(Sorry in advance if not supposed to post articles...haven't been on the site in a while and can't find the rules about this.)

Thought you all would want to know about this.

-K.

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From http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=710&e=1&u=/usatoday/druggistsrefusetogiveoutpill

Druggists Refuse to Give Out Pill

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

For a year, Julee Lacey stopped in a CVS pharmacy near her home in a Fort Worth suburb to get refills of her birth-control pills. Then one day last March, the pharmacist refused to fill Lacey's prescription because she did not believe in birth control.

"I was shocked," says Lacey, 33, who was not able to get her prescription until the next day and missed taking one of her pills. "Their job is not to regulate what people take or do. It's just to fill the prescription that was ordered by my physician."

Some pharmacists, however, disagree and refuse on moral grounds to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. And states from Rhode Island to Washington have proposed laws that would protect such decisions.

Mississippi enacted a sweeping statute that went into effect in July that allows health care providers, including pharmacists, to not participate in procedures that go against their conscience. South Dakota and Arkansas already had laws that protect a pharmacist's right to refuse to dispense medicines. Ten other states considered similar bills this year.

The American Pharmacists Association, with 50,000 members, has a policy that says druggists can refuse to fill prescriptions if they object on moral grounds, but they must make arrangements so a patient can still get the pills. Yet some pharmacists have refused to hand the prescription to another druggist to fill.

In Madison, Wis., a pharmacist faces possible disciplinary action by the state pharmacy board for refusing to transfer a woman's prescription for birth-control pills to another druggist or to give the slip back to her. He would not refill it because of his religious views.

Some advocates for women's reproductive rights are worried that such actions by pharmacists and legislatures are gaining momentum.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision in September that would block federal funds from local, state and federal authorities if they make health care workers perform, pay for or make referrals for abortions.

"We have always understood that the battles about abortion were just the tip of a larger ideological iceberg, and that it's really birth control that they're after also," says Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood (news - web sites) Federation of America.

"The explosion in the number of legislative initiatives and the number of individuals who are just saying, 'We're not going to fill that prescription for you because we don't believe in it' is astonishing," she said.

Pharmacists have moved to the front of the debate because of such drugs as the "morning-after" pill, which is emergency contraception that can prevent fertilization if taken within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse.

While some pharmacists cite religious reasons for opposing birth control, others believe life begins with fertilization and see hormonal contraceptives, and the morning-after pill in particular, as capable of causing an abortion.

"I refuse to dispense a drug with a significant mechanism to stop human life," says Karen Brauer, president of the 1,500-member Pharmacists for Life International. Brauer was fired in 1996 after she refused to refill a prescription for birth-control pills at a Kmart in the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi Township.

Lacey, of North Richland Hills, Texas, filed a complaint with the Texas Board of Pharmacy after her prescription was refused in March. In February, another Texas pharmacist at an Eckerd drug store in Denton wouldn't give contraceptives to a woman who was said to be a rape victim.

In the Madison case, pharmacist Neil Noesen, 30, after refusing to refill a birth-control prescription, did not transfer it to another pharmacist or return it to the woman. She was able to get her prescription refilled two days later at the same pharmacy, but she missed a pill because of the delay.

She filed a complaint after the incident occurred in the summer of 2002 in Menomonie, Wis. Christopher Klein, spokesman for Wisconsin's Department of Regulation and Licensing, says the issue is that Noesen didn't transfer or return the prescription. A hearing was held in October. The most severe punishment would be revoking Noesen's pharmacist license, but Klein says that is unlikely.

Susan Winckler, spokeswoman and staff counsel for the American Pharmacists Association, says it is rare that pharmacists refuse to fill a prescription for moral reasons. She says it is even less common for a pharmacist to refuse to provide a referral.

"The reality is every one of those instances is one too many," Winckler says. "Our policy supports stepping away but not obstructing."

In the 1970s, because of abortion and sterilization, some states adopted refusal clauses to allow certain health care professionals to opt out of providing those services. The issue re-emerged in the 1990s, says Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive issues.

Sonfield says medical workers, insurers and employers increasingly want the right to refuse certain services because of medical developments, such as the "morning-after" pill, embryonic stem-cell research and assisted suicide.

"The more health care items you have that people feel are controversial, some people are going to object and want to opt out of being a part of that," he says.

In Wisconsin, a petition drive is underway to revive a proposed law that would protect pharmacists who refuse to prescribe drugs they believe could cause an abortion or be used for assisted suicide.

"It just recognizes that pharmacists should not be forced to choose between their consciences and their livelihoods," says Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin. "They should not be compelled to become parties to abortion."

I'm sorry but I don't get it...it's not their job to judge anyone..I'm sure we have all come across circumstances that we were not comfortable with, nor do we agree with..but it's not anyones place to force our opinions/beliefs on others..a pts health care is between them and their MD, and we have to honor their decisions no matter what we may think or feel. The only time I would refuse to give a med/tx is if I thought it may cause that pt harm. I mean, if you think about it..if a pharmacist refuses to fill birth control, what's next? no meds for std's because they think the pt is too 'friendly'..or AIDS meds because they think the pt is homosexual..and on and on....just because they fill the rx doesn't make them responsible for the outcome...pt/MD decision..not the pharmacist.

What happened to being a professional ? I wont even begin to argue the option of not going against your beliefs but they wouldn't even refer her to someone else ?

Pretty soon liquor stores will refuse to sell boones farm to young couples (might encourage out of wedlock sex)

And the local music store will protest Barry White music ( heaven knows some babies have been made off those songs!)

This article made my heart rate go up and face flush with anger, why is it that we are going backwards? What happened to seperation of church and state? Who are they to decide how other people should run their lives? So many questions that come to mind but one thing I know for sure, these people do not belong in this profession, we are here to help and provide knowledge when it comes to healthcare. We are not in the position to be forcing our values on others. :uhoh21:

tntrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum. Has 34 years experience.

So, there's hope then that some pharmacists will refuse to fill those Viagra prescriptions too, because they believe that you must deal with what God gives (or takes away from) you?

boulergirl, CNA

Has 5 years experience.

My mom recently posted an article on her blog "Does the Pill cause abortions?" After reading this article I wonder if that's one reason (unstated here) why the pharmicist refused to fill the Rx? (They still could've referred the customer to a different pharmicist, though.)

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

They need to keep their personal beliefs out of the workplace, or need to find a job that doesn't compromise them.

I'm sorry but I don't get it...it's not their job to judge anyone..I'm sure we have all come across circumstances that we were not comfortable with, nor do we agree with..but it's not anyones place to force our opinions/beliefs on others..a pts health care is between them and their MD, and we have to honor their decisions no matter what we may think or feel. The only time I would refuse to give a med/tx is if I thought it may cause that pt harm. I mean, if you think about it..if a pharmacist refuses to fill birth control, what's next? no meds for std's because they think the pt is too 'friendly'..or AIDS meds because they think the pt is homosexual..and on and on....just because they fill the rx doesn't make them responsible for the outcome...pt/MD decision..not the pharmacist.

I don't think they are judging they just don't want to go against their own believes. Just an example I don't believe in abortion but that does not mean I think less of a person that has an abortion....I do not judge but I will not work for an abortion clinic. If however I had a patient that had complications from an abortion or whatever I would do everything I could to help the pt. If for example I was (I'm not) a Jehova Witness and had a patient that needed blood......I probably would make arrangements for another nurse to take the pt...I don't think what the pharmacist was right in what she did. If she felt so strongly about it she should have told her client and arranged somehow for her to get her pills somewhere else. Hope that made sense.

I don't think they are judging they just don't want to go against their own believes. Just an example I don't believe in abortion but that does not mean I think less of a person that has an abortion....I do not judge but I will not work for an abortion clinic. If however I had a patient that had complications from an abortion or whatever I would do everything I could to help the pt. If for example I was (I'm not) a Jehova Witness and had a patient that needed blood......I probably would make arrangements for another nurse to take the pt...I don't think what the pharmacist was right in what she did. If she felt so strongly about it she should have told her client and arranged somehow for her to get her pills somewhere else. Hope that made sense.

The difference here, though, is that abortions are not a part of your daily job, and most of the jobs you will be offered have nothing at all to do with abortions. For most pharmacists, doling out birth control pills is (I would think) a fairly large part of the job -- there are a LOT of women who take them. Unless there are "Men & Non-Childbearing Potential Female Only" pharmacies, most pharmacists are going to wind up giving out birth control at some point. Shouldn't they have thought this through before going to school???

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management.

What I don't get is that while they don't feel right about selling BC pills, it's still OK to sell prophylactics in the store? After all, using them could interfere with causing a viable fetus as a result of sex.

I mean, what's good for the goose, right? I also liked what Marie had to say:

They need to keep their personal beliefs out of the workplace, or need to find a job that doesn't compromise them.

--Unless I'm reading this wrong, and this is really about "morning-after pills," which I'm not sure should be considered birth control pills. In which case Marie's opinion mirrors mine even more.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Kinda wonder what would happen if a woman went to that pharmacy to get her BC pill prescription refilled, with the prescribed reason being 'menstruation regularity.' I wonder if THAT would be a different story, because it's wouldn't be considered the same REASON as the OP's story?

--Unless I'm reading this wrong, and this is really about "morning-after pills," which I'm not sure should be considered birth control pills. In which case Marie's opinion mirrors mine even more.

No, Angie, it's regular old birth control pills, not morning after.

'birth controll pills' are used for a variety of sympotoms other than the prevention of pregnancy

however, the pill is a legal medicine, it has, when used for its primary purpose has freed women to go to shool and better themselves and their families, has given couples an option to postpone a family to a more convenient time, has prevented people who might pass on famial disorders...ms, cystic fibrosis, huntington chorea, and many many other disorders which would have been a curse to the child born with it and a burden on siblings and parents...

pharmacists have a legal right to do what they feel is right and moral...but that does not include retaining the prescription or not referring to another pharacist

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

This article made my heart rate go up and face flush with anger, why is it that we are going backwards? What happened to seperation of church and state? Who are they to decide how other people should run their lives? So many questions that come to mind but one thing I know for sure, these people do not belong in this profession, we are here to help and provide knowledge when it comes to healthcare. We are not in the position to be forcing our values on others. :uhoh21:

and in our current politcal climate it is just going to get way worse.......These pharmacists should be penalized IMHO-they are only the MIDDLEMEN....It's another slippery slope-what other meds will they refuse to dispense? We are truly in trouble now-we may see the reversal of Rowe vs Wade if we don't get pro-active and stop it....We have a president that claims Christianity is on his side and he is running the country based on HIS religious beliefs...His beliefs are controllingtheFCC,too....Check out the PTC online -they want to "clean up the airwaves" and have been surprisingly successful(just control your families viewing habits,please let me control mine-thanks...This election cannot be for naught-it has to mobilize the moderates in this country-we HAVE to fight for our rights and bring common sense ack to the White House in 2008.....

So, what can nurses do about this?

What can citizens do about this?

It IS only going to get worse. If you had told me 3 months ago that I'd be reading this in the news today, I would have said, "Things are bad, but they're not going to be THAT bad 3 months from now." I would have been wrong.

WE NEED TO GET VOCAL!!!!!!

This is not even about abortion, you know. It's about "empowering" people to sit in judgment of other people's actions.

I wonder if these same pharmacists refuse to fill Viagra prescriptions, on the basis of sex being meant purely for procreational purposes? I don't have the stats, but I'd venture a guess that most Viagra patients are married to women beyond childbearing years...

And here's what my mom (a preacher's wife, no less!) had to say about it. I liked her response so much, I thought I'd share it:

When a pharmacist is this much into not dispensing drugs with significant mechanisms to stop human life, they'd better be VERY up on all the side effects of everything they dispense. And they'd better advise CVS not to sell peanuts, since peanut allergy kills many children. And they'd better be sure none of their stores sell narcotics or cigarettes, etc. Heck, for that matter, they better be sure they don't sell water in their stores, either. Too much of that can drown a person.

I'd add that if they're working in CVS, they really have a problem since most of the products they sell are used in and even promote the seven deadly sins: PRIDE (mirrors, cosmetics), SLOTH (lawn chairs, foot massagers, TV Guide), GREED (books on business success and making money), GLUTTONY (Snickers, Doritos, Cokes, Oreos), LUST (pretty much any magazine on the shelf, cosmetics again), ANGER (I know it's not something they "sell," but do rude cashiers count?), ENVY (anything that promises it's better than the competition or will make you prettier or smarter or in any way better than your neighbor)...

mercyteapot, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dev. Disabilities, Health Disparities. Has 20 years experience.

I don't think they are judging they just don't want to go against their own believes. Just an example I don't believe in abortion but that does not mean I think less of a person that has an abortion....I do not judge but I will not work for an abortion clinic. If however I had a patient that had complications from an abortion or whatever I would do everything I could to help the pt. If for example I was (I'm not) a Jehova Witness and had a patient that needed blood......I probably would make arrangements for another nurse to take the pt...I don't think what the pharmacist was right in what she did. If she felt so strongly about it she should have told her client and arranged somehow for her to get her pills somewhere else. Hope that made sense.

If she feels that strongly against birth control, she has no business working in a CVS pharmacy (or any retail pharmacy, for that matter). Pharmacists have plenty of job options; but imposing her personal beliefs in a way that impacted someone else's medical decisions should certainly not be one of those options!

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

i hope these pharmacists discussed their strong morals and belief systems with their employers before accepting their jobs. and i wonder what other medications they refuse to dispense because of these "morals."

[color=#4b0082]if you don't believe in birth control pills, don't take them. and if you feel you must not only judge but police other peoples' morals and behaviors, you really ought not to be working in a cvs or ekhardt pharmacy. and you ought to think about the quotation "judge not lest ye be judged."

[color=#4b0082]

[color=#4b0082]it's sad to see what our country is becoming . . .

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

OH super, so if my pharmacist doesn't believe in medication for hospice patients, and that they should die naturally...I wouldn't be able to get them comfort medications? Oh that is just nice :(... Oh gee that colace may just prolong their existance, or the morphine may make them an addict..oh boy better not dispense it even though a Doc ordered it!!!!

Okay then, I don't want to deal with the man in 406 because he doesn't believe in western med and I don't believe in using tree roots and prayers to cure them, and I am not sticking my neck out...liablity you know..sorry about that! Oh yeah, and that woman in room 709...she will not allow any person of color to be in her room and that rubs me the wrong way..I find it offensive and will not treat her! Oh wow, that chick in 220, she needed some hormone pills because her menses are irregular..but was prescribed birth control pills...oh boy that can be a sticky area..best not go there! And that one is a sex offender so I hear, and that one is too old and doesn't need all this fancy medical stuff, and that one is a noncompliant diabetic..and that one and that one.........

Yeah RIGHT!!!!!!!!!! I had to hold the throat of a man who raped a three year old girl, and her father cut him ear to ear! I didn't want to hold his throat..I didn't want to be near him..but I did it..why? Because I am a NURSE..that is why! I do not nor can not pick and choose my patients...to do so would be the purest form of unethical I can imagine!

NO...this must stop, or those pharmacists must leave the profession. It is not their place to prescribe or D/C any medications without Physician order...and I consider denial of dispence to be a D/C without order...it would be in a court of law if I refused to give the med wouldn't it??????

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