The American Medical Association (AMA)’s policy-making House of Delegates passed a resolution on Monday in support of requiring pharmacists to fill prescriptions. The resolution states that pharmacists should either be required to dispense prescription medications without delay or to make an immediate referral to another pharmacy, reports the Chicago Tribune. Further, the AMA will back state and federal legislation mandating pharmacists to fill prescriptions if no willing pharmacist can be found within 30 miles, according to Reuters.
The AMA says that the resolution was passed in response to the increasing refusal of pharmacists nationwide to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, and in some case, for oral contraceptives, on the basis of so-called “conscientious” objections. In fact, four states have already passed “conscience clauses” allowing pharmacists to deny patients their prescriptions, with similar bills pending in eleven states, according to the National Women’s Law Center. However, legislative support for women’s access to contraceptive prescriptions is also increasing. Fives states have now passed laws barring pharmacists from refusing to dispense medications, with the Governor of Illinois making an emergency ruling in April requiring pharmacists to fill contraceptive prescriptions and federal legislation recently introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to protect women’s access to contraception.