Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Imposing Morality at the Drugstore

My state's Senate is presently considering a bill that would legally allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on ethical, moral, or religious reasons without fear of being fired, demoted or suspended. They would also be immune from civil or criminal liability. Pharmacies would be required to post a notice in their store with the name of the pharmacist and the drugs they object to dispensing.

Typical medications that pharmacists in the past have objected to filling prescriptions for have been birth control pills and the morning after pill.

That a legislative body would even consider such a thing boggles my mind. An independent pharmacist who owns a mom and pop drug store can choose what medications they wish to stock, though they'll no doubt lose business that way.

However, a pharmacist working for a chain pharmacy has no business refusing to dispense medications for a legal prescription available in that store. If they have objections to filling any prescription available in that store, then perhaps they've got the wrong job to begin with and should either open their own drugstore or get into a new line of work entirely. I'm not normally on the side of the employer in labor issues, but I think a pharmacy would be well within their rights to fire a pharmacist who refuses to fill any legal prescription to a paying customer.


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