Five States May Require Pharmacists to Fill Birth Control Prescriptions

Five states have bills currently pending that would make it illegal for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for ethical reasons. California Rep. Lloyd Levine (D), who introduced a bill in the state of California, says “We are very concerned with this trend of protecting pharmacists first and patients second…what they [pharmacists] are really doing is interfering in the doctor-patient relationship and attempting to take away a woman’s right to choose,” according to State Net.

The Nevada Assembly has approved an amended bill (SB 163) that would prohibit pharmacists from refusing to fill prescriptions based on personal beliefs, including prescriptions for birth control pills. The bill must now be passed by the Nevada Senate. If passed by the Senate, the amended bill gives the state Board of Pharmacy the power to discipline pharmacists who refuse to fill a prescription two or more times. Pharmacists would stand in jeopardy of having their license suspended for failing to dispense medications, including contraceptives.

However, more and more pharmacists nationwide are refusing to fill contraceptive prescriptions on the basis of moral or religious objections and four states have already passed “conscience clauses” allowing pharmacists to deny patients their prescriptions, with similar bills pending in eight states, reports State Net Capitol Journal.

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Kaiser 5/31/05; Las Vegas Sun 5/26/05; Las Vegas Review Journal 5/27/05; State Net Capital Journal 4/4/05

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