Some Pharmacists Refuse to Fill Prescriptions for Emergency Contraception

Recently the U.S. Federal Drug and Food Administration ruled that morning-after birth control pills, taken as emergency contraception, are safe and effective. However, some pharmacists are refusing to fill the prescriptions for women seeking the pills. Although the American Pharmaceutical Association, with 48,000 members, supports a pharmacist’s right of refusal, it also says that the pharmacist’s right must not override a patient’s right to treatment. Pharmacists must find some way to help the woman, either by referring her to another pharmacist within the store or refering the woman to another pharmacy.

Recently a pharmacist at Longs Pharmacy in California was reprimanded for refusing to fill a prescription for the emergency contraception to Michelle Crider, 28. Though Crider wanted a second baby, an existing medical condition made pregnancy a possibly life-endangering condition for her. Crider finally got her prescription from a nearby pharmacy, but commented, “I’m still very angry; without knowing my situation, he could have affected a huge part of my life. What if there had been no other pharmacy to go to?” Longs spokesperson Clay Selland commented, “Failure to serve a customer is at issue here. He was disciplined because he should have offered another option to the doctor. Our policy is thatƒhe needs to send it along to another pharmacist that’s on duty, to another Longs storeƒor refer it on to a competing pharmacy.”


The Washington Post - June 17, 1997

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