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What if it was his Daughter?
February 3, 2004 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Texas Pharmacist Refuses Emergency Contraception for Rape Victim. Should the pharmacist be punished?
posted by EmoChild (63 comments total)

 
I think the appropriate punishment is obvious.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:14 PM on February 3, 2004


Hell no, emergency contraception is only for sluts n whores.

seriously though, if its not for rape victims, then who for??
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:16 PM on February 3, 2004


if that slut had been a god fearing woman she'd never have been raped.
posted by quonsar at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2004


I can't get over the fact that he was merely "disciplined" and not fired on the spot.

I find Eckerd drug store's ho-hum reaction to be nearly as scandalous as the pharmacist's initial behavior.
posted by EmoChild at 4:26 PM on February 3, 2004


Lotsa weird stuff happens in america these days.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:28 PM on February 3, 2004


You're right about that.
posted by drinkcoffee at 4:31 PM on February 3, 2004


Well the pharmacist has got moral problem with giving drugs he/she shouldn't be in the business of giving drugs to begin with.

As his/her behavior may fluctuate from a yes to a no in a matter of seconds (thanks, for instace, to relaxed moral rules) there's the danger of instric unreliability of such a person when it comes to giving drugs to people requesting them ; expecially when the drug is given with prescription which implies medical supervision and clears the pharmacist of any wrongdoing.

In other words the pharmacist should not play God with other people decisions.

On preview: tryptophan : it is for you , for instance if you condom breaks (it may happen). If you don't want to use it, fine with me, but that doesn't make other people slut or whores as much as advocating that they're slut or whores doesn't make you a bible thumping troll.

Quonsar: so God Loving woman can't be raped because God will come and save her ? Jesus we no longer need Superman dude we have God on our side !
posted by elpapacito at 4:32 PM on February 3, 2004


Should the pharmacist be punished?
What exactly are you asking? Because: EKkerd(sic) spokeswoman Joan Gallagher said she could not give details of the disciplinary actions, but that the pharmacist had violated company policy.
Regardless your view, what does it matter as the person violated company policy.
Plus I can tell you since this has been in my local news for some time, people are boycotting/picketing the store it took place at,... hee haw.

disciplined" and not fired on the spot.
Seems most companies in the US have the same policy about firing one. Had the pharmacist done it before?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2004


I can't get over the fact that he was merely "disciplined" and not fired on the spot

The phrase that follows "firing without warning a presumably long-term, professional, licensed employee for a single violation of corporate policy" is "wrongful termination lawsuit."

In another news article, the executive director of the Texas Board of Pharmacy said that pharmacists can only deny a prescription if they believe it will cause harm to the patient.

elpapacito: go and check your sarcasm detector.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:35 PM on February 3, 2004


The man should be canned like so much corn.
posted by thirteen at 4:36 PM on February 3, 2004


rou: it must be broken, enlighten me with your sarcasm reparation tools
posted by elpapacito at 4:41 PM on February 3, 2004


Odd if this is the first day-after contraception perscription he's ever dealt with. Unless he's new, very likely he's received similar requests, not to do with a rape, and refused them also, but those cases were tolerated without controversy despite also being against company policy.

Extrapolating, that would make him a repeat offender, but his behavior was tolerated up to now. Which looks much worse for the company if it's true.
posted by abcde at 4:44 PM on February 3, 2004


Wow, what a stereotypical spelling mistake. s/perscription/prescription/
posted by abcde at 4:48 PM on February 3, 2004


elpapacito, back away from the computer. When you read this thread again from the beginning tomorrow, you're going to wish you had been more careful in your reading of others' posts. That's my prediction, anyway.
posted by soyjoy at 4:51 PM on February 3, 2004


its no longer a " firing without warning a presumably long-term, professional, licensed employee for a single violation of corporate policy " if the action is a violation of the hippocratic oath .
posted by mishaco at 4:55 PM on February 3, 2004


elpapacito: Tryptophan and Quonsar were both being sarcastic. Your sarcasm detector needs its sensitivity level increased.
posted by linux at 4:55 PM on February 3, 2004


Mh whoa linux , ru and soyjoy are right the scarsm in Tryptophan-5ht reply wasn't detected by me. My fault. Still don't get the Quonsar one. Guess I'll sleep over it and try again tomorrow.
posted by elpapacito at 5:02 PM on February 3, 2004


mishaco, thought doctors took the oath, not pharmacists?
posted by Jimbob at 5:05 PM on February 3, 2004


Not firing him is a good business decision.

Who is more likely to stage a **financially significant** boycott of the entire chain, Pro-Lifers or Evangelical Christians and Catholics?
posted by pjdoland at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2004


elpapacito, Quonsar is using a style of rhetoric that we usually call "sarcasm".
posted by SpecialK at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2004


Did the pharmacist also make the rapist pay 50 pieces of silver to the woman's father, and then marry her? Because that's what the bible says. Deuteronomy. Chapter 22.

Unless she was engaged, and nobody heard her screaming during her rape, in which case both she and her rapist should be stoned to death for violating her fiance's property rights. Same chapter.

The answers are in your bible, people, if you would just fucking READ IT!
posted by Hildago at 5:22 PM on February 3, 2004


Well the pharmacist has got moral problem with giving drugs he/she shouldn't be in the business of giving drugs to begin with.

Hear, hear.

My question is, was she raped IN the drugstore? Cuz if not, why would that even be mentioned within the context of filling a prescription?
posted by rushmc at 5:30 PM on February 3, 2004


Rushmc, I can't actually find anything in that article that actually says the pharmacist was made aware she was a rape victim before he refused to sell to her. Not that that really has anything to do with anything else - his job is to fill the doctor's prescription and not ask any bloody questions as far as I'm concerned, and if he has a problem with that he should go work somewhere his morals won't get in the way of his responsibilities. Hear, hear.
posted by Jimbob at 5:34 PM on February 3, 2004


Actually I believe quonsar was using irony rather than sarcasm (and bitter, caustic irony at that - if it comes into contact with your mind, flush with water immediately).
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:36 PM on February 3, 2004


Well the pharmacist has got moral problem with giving drugs he/she shouldn't be in the business of giving drugs to begin with.
...
In other words the pharmacist should not play God with other people decisions.


If I may interject. I have worked in a pharmacy before. Denying prescriptions are NOT uncommon. It would happen several times a day. The pharmacist is not just a robot, they check for drug interactions and suspicious behavior. An unbelievable amount of doctors in poor neighborhoods are easily bullied to throw medication at the problem and not treat the patient. They are easily bullied for addictive prescriptions.

That is a separate issue really, but doctor's are not as infallible as we might think unfortunately. There are bad and crooked doctor's as their are bad and crooked people. There are people who also steal prescription pads, forge prescriptions, etc. The pharmacist must be discerning.

At first I was shocked by this, but then I remembered how many times I heard "we will not fill this here". I don't think this is as strange or vile. Certainly wrong in my eyes, as I don't apply my morals to others -- even though I don't see what she was doing as wrong in any way. But should he be forced to do something he's ethically against? I don't know.
posted by geoff. at 5:37 PM on February 3, 2004


But should he be forced to do something he's ethically against?

Nobody's forcing him - he doesn't have to work for Eckerd. But if he's going to take a job, he has to abide by the company's rules, or expect to be written up. Eckerd's rules state that they fill all valid, legal prescriptions. Not filling the prescription for other than medical reasons is against their stated policy.
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:44 PM on February 3, 2004


I can usually see both sides of an argument. But not here. If you are in the business of dispensing drugs, on the request of doctors, you do so.

("geoff's" post about addiction is not relevant in this case)

Let's not forget history: our roots in Puritanism run deep, and often result in misguided policy. (Not that there's anyting wrong with being Puritanical...)
posted by kozad at 5:52 PM on February 3, 2004


Previous thread about the same topic, only with a Walgreen's pharmacist, and the woman wasn't raped.

As I said in that thread more or less: if you want to be a pharmacist and aren't prepared to fill legal prescriptions for drugs your pharmacy stocks (aside from cases of drug interactions and that sort of thing), then either work in a lab or somewhere you won't be required to fill prescriptions you have a moral problem with (AKA push your morality on other people who are relying on you to do your job), or choose another career. This was not the pharmacist's call to make in either case.
posted by biscotti at 6:40 PM on February 3, 2004


Not that that really has anything to do with anything else - his job is to fill the doctor's prescription and not ask any bloody questions as far as I'm concerned, and if he has a problem with that he should go work somewhere his morals won't get in the way of his responsibilities.

That's precisely my point. The whole "rape" angle seems irrelevant, so why is it being reported in this sensationalized way?
posted by rushmc at 6:47 PM on February 3, 2004


I blogged about this earlier, because it's a local story to me. Here are two local news reports about it.

I think, from a boycotting and raising hell with management standpoint, it's also important to note that Eckerd's is owned by JC Penney.

Keep in mind that Eckerd's is the same company that last year called the police and filed child molestation charges against a mother who was breast feeding her son because her husband took pictures and the people at Eckerd's were offended when he had them developed. Because, as the Janet Jackson thing has shown us, breasts are dirty, dirty love pillows and a menace to all that is sacred and clean.

It's the company that for most of the 70's and 80's funded camps in the wilderness for "wayward girls" to be brought back into line with "God and Good Morals". I can't seem to find links for them, but I know the one near Ocala was Camp Eninihassee(sp?).

(I was threatened with the camps...but got sent to boarding school instead. In England. Whoo hoo! Like they were going to call my parents thousands of miles away to tell them I had run off to London, dyed my hair blue and was actively chasing punk boys around Camden.)

Eckerd's has always been a puritanical operation...and for that reason, I've generally avoided them...well, that and the camps...and the spooky college campus...frankly, the whole Eckerd thing is a little weird. And I'm not really JC Penney's target demographic...but I can guarantee that neither will get my business in the future.
posted by dejah420 at 6:48 PM on February 3, 2004


ROU said:

is "wrongful termination lawsuit."

texas, like florida (home sweet home) is a "right to work" state....which in practice, means quite the opposite. you have a job at your employer's behest, and he pays you to do the job...minus any other contracts, the only implied contract is your hours for your wage....and either of you can terminate that contract at the drop of a hat for any reason.

to wit: "wrong termination lawsuits" don't exist unless they include discrimination.
posted by taumeson at 7:00 PM on February 3, 2004


he should be fired and his license revoked or suspended. he refused service based on his moral beliefs and moral beliefs only.

eckerd wouldn't need to worry about a wrongful termination lawsuit. sure, the guy could file one, but he wouldn't win. texas is an at will state and the laws here favor employers considerably more than employees. you can be fired because someone doesn't like the color shirt you're wearing.

rape victim aside, any pharmacist that refuses to fill any valid prescription because of their moral beliefs shouldn't be a pharmacist.
posted by centrs at 7:04 PM on February 3, 2004


file this with the Georgia "evolution" story. weird america i tell u, weird.
posted by omidius at 7:16 PM on February 3, 2004


I love the idea of a Christian Scientist pharmacist who tries to foist her religious beliefs on others by not filling any prescriptions.

"No! You don't need that penicillin! It's just Error!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:18 PM on February 3, 2004


I can tell you exactly why they didn't just fire him. At least here they are having problems keeping enough pharmacists as it is.

To be morally consistent this pharmacist would have to refuse to fill most oral contraceptive prescriptions, as sometimes all they do is prevent implantation and not conception.
posted by konolia at 7:36 PM on February 3, 2004


what i need is a pharmacist of character bankrupt and barren, his very soul bereft of the troublesome moral considerations that plaugue most men. anybody know one?
posted by quonsar at 7:45 PM on February 3, 2004


*slips quonsy his card*
posted by eyeballkid at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2004


*memorizes number, shreds and snorts card*
posted by quonsar at 7:52 PM on February 3, 2004


Should the pharmacist be punished?

Yes. Any other answer is lunacy.

Next issue?

ROU: Conducting cockfights on corporate property is probably against their policy as well. Do you think he would still be working there if he only went astray of that policy the one time?

This is a little more serious than not washing his coffee mug and leaving it in the common room.

At will states (such as mine) are quite interesting. You can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all, unless it is discriminatory. So, you can't fire a black man for being black, but you can fire a black man because his name is Hubert or because he wears Old Spice or because he prefers decaf over regular.

The only thing that a pharmacist can do that is worse than this is to purposefully give someone the wrong medication. Refusing to fill a medication would probably rank #2 to me. It's his sole job.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:44 PM on February 3, 2004


minus any other contracts

You can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all, unless it is discriminatory


...or unless your contract says otherwise.

Yeah, I know TX is a right-to-work state. But do you really think that a pharmacist -- a licensed professional with an advanced degree -- doesn't have an actual contract? Or that Eckerd doesn't have stated corporate disciplinary policies that might bind them, at least with respect to their professional employees?

While I agree that you shouldn't be a pharmacist if you're morally unwilling to prescribe certain drugs, disciplining the pharmacist in some on-the-record way could easily be the most that Eckerd can do without legal exposure, and almost certainly means he (she?) gets canned if it happens again.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:58 PM on February 3, 2004


Sorry, I'm not giving you prozac for your kid. I don't approve.

Sorry, I'm not giving you accutane. I hear it messes with your head.

Sorry, I'm not giving you methadone. Get out of here, druggie.

Sorry, I'm not giving you oxycontin. Get out of here, Rush.

What's sad is, all four are more legitimate than "Sorry you were raped; enjoy the kid."
posted by effugas at 9:28 PM on February 3, 2004


I couldn't find proof online, but I'm fairly sure that pharmacists, like dentists, don't take the Hippocratic Oath.

As for the pharmacist, his personal convictions and professional obligations were obviously in direct conflict and his personal convictions won out. That might make him a bad pharmacist, but it doesn't make him evil incarnate. In his mind, I'm sure he felt that he was preventing a murder.

But he really should have been working in a pharmacy that doesn't stock birth control pills (Surely such pharmacies exist?).
posted by boltman at 10:16 PM on February 3, 2004


Just to add a small bit (pre-pharm student) in addition to geoff from earlier, pharmacists are not simply "drug dispensers" anymore. It is now very commonplace for doctors to work hand-in-hand with pharmacists to prescribe drugs. Cause guess what? In most cases (certainly not all), pharmacists are more knowledgeable about drugs and know better than a doctor what a drug will do.
But, this scenario has nothing to do with filling out a prescription because a doctor screwed up. Though I am 100% pro-life, if you don't like your obligation in a field, then get out. If you agree to do something not based on morality, you gave up option to prescribe morality.
Boltman- yes. Pharmacists aren't required to carry every drug in the world. If a pharmacists owns a pharmacy and doesn't want to prescribe birth control pills, he's well within his rights.
posted by jmd82 at 10:21 PM on February 3, 2004


I hate it when I troll and nobody bites.
posted by Hildago at 10:40 PM on February 3, 2004


*nibble*
posted by deborah at 11:51 PM on February 3, 2004


i hate it when no one nibbles me.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:39 AM on February 4, 2004


I'm not entirely convinced by the argument that the pharmacist has an obligation to fill a prescription. Where there is a health risk then they may have an obligation not too. Egs There is a limit on how often a woman should use morning-after medication, if the pharmacist was aware that she had used it frequently then in the recent past then there was an onus on him to tell her and perhaps to restrict access.
In the UK pharmacists are limited in the amount of paracetamol they can sell to you at one time.
Another eg: when I was 11 there was a big scare over an arthritis medication called Opren, a few days after it had been all over the press my aunt's doctor gave her a prescription, I went to collect it and it turned out to be for Opren, should the prescription have been filled? Obviously not. The article doesn't make the entire circumstance obvious, but even if the pharmacist was in the wrong it doesn't support the argument that pharmacists are obliged to fill descriptions.
posted by biffa at 1:39 AM on February 4, 2004


A few weeks ago, my wife needed to go to the doctors to get a morning-after pill. The doctor refused to prescribe one (against his religion) but did arrange for one of his colleagues to come in and prescribe it. Which was fine by us - we got what we wanted - but made us wonder what would have happened in a rural practice where there's only one doctor (rather than the multi-quack urban health centre that we go to).
posted by Pericles at 2:01 AM on February 4, 2004


Rape's being reported because a large portion of the pro-life movement still makes exceptions for rape (no choice involved, ironically). The pharamacist obviously knew this, so his choice is much less justified -- even on rational grounds.
posted by effugas at 2:23 AM on February 4, 2004


Er, that would be moral grounds.
posted by effugas at 2:24 AM on February 4, 2004


rushmc: My question is, was she raped IN the drugstore? Cuz if not, why would that even be mentioned within the context of filling a prescription?

I was wondering the same thing. According to this article that dejah420 linked, the woman's friend mentioned why there was a need for urgency to the woman behind the counter, who said it would just take two minutes. The pharmacist in the back took 20 minutes, apparently conferring with two others before ultimately denying the customer.

Still, this article made me realize the pharmacist was rejecting the prescription not because she was a rape victim, but rather because he simply had moral problems with the drug "designed to end life." Sounds like he'd reject anyone's prescription for the morning-after pill. (I'm not aware of any other situation that an anti-abortionist would say the morning-after pill is okay. Isn't this the only situation that anti-abortionists are sorta split on anyway?)

I think the Yahoo/Reuters article emphasizes the "rape" part so much that it's distracting. Read it again; now it strikes me as odd how many times they say it. Quite frankly, that aspect minimizes the issue and should serve merely as a bitter coda.

The pharmacist in question is filled with so much ignorance and hypocrisy I wonder how he makes it through the day.
posted by Fofer at 5:35 AM on February 4, 2004


I'm not entirely convinced by the argument that the pharmacist has an obligation to fill a prescription. Where there is a health risk then they may have an obligation not too. Egs There is a limit on how often a woman should use morning-after medication, if the pharmacist was aware that she had used it frequently then in the recent past then there was an onus on him to tell her and perhaps to restrict access.

Erm...this argument doesn't make sense, pregnancy and childbirth are far greater health risks than the morning after pill, especially since as of yet there have been no serious adverse effects (which have not also been seen in those taking regular monthly birth control) - even though it's a higher dose of hormones than the regular pills, it's still relatively low dose.

there was a big scare over an arthritis medication called Opren, a few days after it had been all over the press my aunt's doctor gave her a prescription, I went to collect it and it turned out to be for Opren, should the prescription have been filled? Obviously not

That's not at all as obvious to me as it apparently is to you. A "big scare" in the press is not adequate grounds to refuse to fill a prescription, because the press is not a pharmaceutical testing organization and likely has no greater knowledge of any real problems than any lay person (your aunt could have asked the doctor for something else if she was worried).
posted by biscotti at 7:54 AM on February 4, 2004


Pharmacists are rubbish the world over.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:01 AM on February 4, 2004


But should he be forced to do something he's ethically against?

In this case, yes. His position has its own set of ethics. Certainly, as a pharmacist, he has a responsibility to refuse certain prescriptions based on health, but his own ethics shouldn't take precedence over his duty as a pharmacist. If he doesn't like that deal, he shouldn't be a pharmacist.
posted by callmejay at 8:50 AM on February 4, 2004


The night I lost my virginity, I bought the condoms at this eckards.

I suppose that's off topic tho
posted by llama3 at 9:24 AM on February 4, 2004


That's not at all as obvious to me as it apparently is to you. A "big scare" in the press is not adequate grounds to refuse to fill a prescription, because the press is not a pharmaceutical testing organization and likely has no greater knowledge of any real problems than any lay person (your aunt could have asked the doctor for something else if she was worried).

I didn't say there had been a big scare in the press, I said there had been a big scare which had been well covered in the press. This is not the same thing, you'll have to excuse me for assuming you could read for meaning. You can find more about Opren here, its generally used as an argument against animal testing these days.
posted by biffa at 9:32 AM on February 4, 2004


you'll have to excuse me for assuming you could read for meaning.

Oh OUCH! Either way, it's the doctor's job to decide what to prescribe and your aunt's job to tell the doctor that she doesn't want something controversial, not the pharmacist's job to decide that a doctor's legal prescription for a drug still on the market shouldn't be filled.
posted by biscotti at 9:55 AM on February 4, 2004


Actually, its my aunt's job to be a patient, and the pharmacists to try to ensure the good health of the patient, including protecting them from incompetent doctors.

Health professionals discharge their duty of care to patients through a process of individual assessment, usually through dialogue, to determine the patient's needs. Working within an integrated health care system, pharmacists have a duty to contribute to the assessment of patients' needs and the identification of potential as well as actual problems associated with drug therapy. Through dialogue with patients, pharmacists establish a suitable relationship to enable them to monitor drug therapy and to strive for continuous improvement.'
posted by biffa at 10:24 AM on February 4, 2004


Fire the bastard and revoke his license.
posted by Blubble at 10:38 AM on February 4, 2004


biffa: that quote doesn't seem to imply what you seem to think it implies. Discussing possible problems with the medication definitely falls within the scope of a pharmacist's responsibilities, checking prescriptions with the doctor definitely falls within the scope of a pharmacist's responsibilities, but you stated point-blank that the pharmacist shouldn't have filled your aunt's prescription, when it was a legal prescription for a legal medication which was still on the market, refusing to fill such a prescription without any reason other than a controversy over the medication is outside the pharmacist's scope of responsibility (discussing it with the patient and doctor, great, refusing to fill it, not great). "Identification of potential as well as actual problems with drug therapy" doesn't mean "refusing to fill a proper prescription for a legal drug for no reason other than controversy". A doctor writing a scrip for a legal med on the market is not "incompetent", not all drug controversies end up being supported by facts, and many controversial drugs are extremely effective. The doctor should have discussed possible problems with your aunt, and perhaps the pharmacist should have as well, I'm not arguing that, but the pharmacist should not have refused to fill the prescription.
posted by biscotti at 11:25 AM on February 4, 2004


I thought you were kidding Hildago, but sadly you weren't. And to think, all this time I was plowing my fields with my ox and ass togther.
posted by euphorb at 12:33 PM on February 4, 2004


Actually, its my aunt's job to be a patient

So what, you define a "patient" as someone in a totally passive role who submits meekly and without question to the dictates of so-called "professionals" such as doctors and pharmacists? I would argue that part of being a good patient is assuming the responsibility for doing some research and self-education on one's own, to help protect one from "incompetent doctors"...and pharmacists.
posted by rushmc at 1:02 PM on February 4, 2004


"There are many hundreds, if not thousands of women who have been raped and carried that pregnancy, and had the baby and have been very happy that they've done that... I still feel very strongly that even as tragic as some of those circumstances are, they have been a blessing to many, many people."

-Bob Deuell, Republican State Senator from Greenville, Texas during Senate floor debate.

*shudders*
posted by boredomjockey at 8:04 PM on February 4, 2004


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