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Can a Pharmacist Refuse To Dispense Birth Control?
June 1, 2004 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Can a Pharmacist Refuse To Dispense Birth Control? "Neil Noesen, a relief pharmacist at the Kmart in Menomonie, Wis., was the only person on duty one day in 2002 when a woman came in to refill her prescription for the contraceptive Loestrin FE. According to a complaint filed by the Wisconsin department of regulation and licensing, Noesen refused because of his religious opposition to birth control. He also declined to transfer the prescription to a nearby pharmacy and refused once again when the woman returned to the store with police...."
posted by Postroad (102 comments total)

 
Crazy religious people: Quit. Your. Jobs.

Its hard to see how being anti-abortion has anything to do with birth control. Ironically, birth control means less abortions, but these nutters couldn't care less.

It seems they purposely want to confuse stuff like RU486 with birth control.

If these rulings hold that means the cashier at Walgreens can say no to my condom purchases too for "ethical reasons."
posted by skallas at 9:48 AM on June 1, 2004


Maybe the crazy religious people should look for jobs where they won't have to impose there beliefs on others. But then that wouldn't make them crazy I guess.
posted by chunking express at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2004


We've got a pharmacist at our local Albertsons who does the same thing. A friend went in to fill a prescription for anti-depressants, and while he filled the prescription, he told her: "If you were right with the Lord, you wouldn't need these."
posted by prodigalsun at 9:59 AM on June 1, 2004


meanwhile, amorous swedes to get emergency birth control
posted by lbergstr at 9:59 AM on June 1, 2004


There was another case of this not that long ago.
posted by bshort at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2004


Jesus, I'm glad I don't live in America. I'm happy here in the UK, where it seems to be generally considered impolite to even mention your religion (to the point where you can know someone for years without knowing they're a Christian). If that pharmacist was over here, he'd keep his wacko beliefs to himself, for sure.

I wonder what it is about American culture that makes these people act out. Constant reinforcement? Their sheer numbers?
posted by reklaw at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2004


We've got a pharmacist at our local Albertsons who does the same thing. A friend went in to fill a prescription for anti-depressants, and while he filled the prescription, he told her: "If you were right with the Lord, you wouldn't need these."

The problem with crazy religious people is that, well, they're crazy and therefore impossible to argue with. Therefore, I suggest attacking them on their own grounds. For example, in response to that, I might say "but then I wouldn't be allowed to commune with the Dark Lord," or "if I was right with 'The Lord,' I'd be left at the dark altar" and gauge the reaction before making another foray into the murky territory of iconoclastic intervention. Personally, I'd probably just laugh and say "good one," as if I'd misinterpreted the comment as a joke, giving the impression that I don't think anybody is crazy enough to believe such nonsense.

"Neil Noesen, a relief pharmacist at the Kmart in Menomonie, Wis., was the only person on duty one day in 2002 when a woman came in to refill her prescription for the contraceptive Loestrin FE. According to a complaint filed by the Wisconsin department of regulation and licensing, Noesen refused because of his religious opposition to birth control. He also declined to transfer the prescription to a nearby pharmacy and refused once again when the woman returned to the store with police...."

Can a Pharmacist Refuse To Dispense Birth Control?

Of course he can, but he shouldn't, and after a single warning he should be fired if anything remotely similar occurs again. If he claims he's being unfairly targeted because of his religion, tell him he's actually being targeted with great fairness and it's not our job to help him bear his cross.
posted by The God Complex at 10:11 AM on June 1, 2004


We've got a pharmacist at our local Albertsons who does the same thing. A friend went in to fill a prescription for anti-depressants, and while he filled the prescription, he told her: "If you were right with the Lord, you wouldn't need these."

Being someone who takes medication for clinical depression i think i would have punched him in the face. His comment is verbally abusive.
posted by MrLint at 10:11 AM on June 1, 2004


Wouldn't this become an issue for the OWNERS of these stores? As in their response to this kind of civil disobedience being "Why the hell are you not doing your job: selling our products to our customers? And by the way -- YOU'RE FIRED!"

Why isn't this the most likely scenario? Are we now living in Bizarro-World?

O, that's right, we are.
posted by mooncrow at 10:13 AM on June 1, 2004


Hormonal birth control methods can be an abortifacient by way of not allowing a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine lining.

That said, if dispensing medications per doctors' orders is violates your religious beliefs, maybe you should be getting into another line of work that doesn't require you to act in ways which you feel violate your faith.
posted by eilatan at 10:13 AM on June 1, 2004


I wonder what it is about American culture that makes these people act out.

gee, could the crazed, apocalyptic born-agains in the white house have something to do with that? nah...
posted by quonsar at 10:16 AM on June 1, 2004


eilatan, so? Guns can be used for murder, yet conservative "thinking" has no problem with that.

I'm just hoping a bunch of vegans get jobs at Wendys, McDonalds, etc and shut down the fast food industry for a day or two if this shit get defended in court. Expect a quick appeal once Joe Sixpack can't get a hamburger.
posted by skallas at 10:19 AM on June 1, 2004


What eilatan said.
If you can't kill people, don't join the army.
If you can't use electricity, don't become a television repair person
If you can't dispense medications, don't become a pharmacist.

This isn't civil disobedience, this is refusing to do an essential part of your job due to belief, which is fine, but it means you don't get to keep that job.
posted by Capn at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2004


Not to mention there are legitimate uses for some birth control pills outside of preventing contraception.

Anyhoo while this story and the other one linked to do happen, fortunately usually this behavior is usually quickly put to pasture.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2004


There was another case of this not that long ago.
The pharmacist lost his job over it.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:26 AM on June 1, 2004


Great...another "outrage" thread. Freak stories like these are what sell papers and feed the water-cooler storytelling. They are in no way representative of the majority of people, nor are they a "sign of what's to come". Shit like this happens; our stupid newspapers publish it to fill empty spaces and create controversy.

It's odd, actually; this past weekend I spoke to a Toronto-based doctor who told me how the entire world completely over-reacted to the SARS epidemic. Govt. spending to prevent the spread of the disease was out of control and the threat was minimal. Any of the additional funding, she noted, could have been far more useful to prevent AIDS of any of the other major diseases. Why did the governments overreact? Public outcry. What caused this public outcry? Hysterical media stories.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2004


"... also declined to transfer the prescription to a nearby pharmacy"
I can understand and maybe even accept if you don't feel right about dispensing what you see as an amoral product. But not transferring the prescription crosses the line. The difference is this action crosses from personally wanting to abstain into obstruction of another's rights.
posted by ambirex at 10:32 AM on June 1, 2004


> Not to mention there are legitimate uses for some birth control pills outside of preventing contraception.

Those are some pretty subversive birth-controll pills...
posted by neckro23 at 10:36 AM on June 1, 2004


Wouldn't this become an issue for the OWNERS of these stores? As in their response to this kind of civil disobedience being "Why the hell are you not doing your job: selling our products to our customers? And by the way -- YOU'RE FIRED!"

This is what'll eventually put an end to this shit.

The amount of money K-Mart would lose in lost revenue from not selling birth control would bother them far more than whatever bad press they'd get for firing some wingnut like this. And times are tough, some other pharmacist will be glad to take his job.

If I was in Hr at the company, I'd say it in the initial interview: "We sell birth control/adult magazines/guns/Lifehouse records. If you have any moral objection to these products, here's your chance to leave." and everyone's covered.
posted by jonmc at 10:45 AM on June 1, 2004


MrLint: Being someone who takes medication for clinical depression i think i would have punched him in the face. His comment is verbally abusive.

There is much that is wrong with these two sentences.
posted by ashbury at 10:45 AM on June 1, 2004


Maybe this guy and that Albertsons pharmacist and that tool in Denton should all check out this program. Not only would this get them out of our hair, but even better, they would be among "their own kind."

That's what's known as a "win-win" situation.
posted by ilsa at 10:53 AM on June 1, 2004


Why doesn't he go work at a Catholic hospital pharmacy?
posted by pjdoland at 10:56 AM on June 1, 2004


Blue Train- as far as I'm concerned, your points should end this thread, well said.
posted by jonah at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2004


Just an echo of earlier comments, really: A part of pharmacist licensing should be a requirement that all valid prescriptions be honored. Period. Don't be a pharmacist if dispensing one of the most popular of all prescriptions is objectionable.
posted by bz at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2004


Its hard to see how being anti-abortion has anything to do with birth control. Ironically, birth control means less abortions, but these nutters couldn't care less.

Many formulations of the birth control pill are abortifacients in addition to or instead of having a contraceptive effect. The primary mechanism in an abortifacient pill is not to prevent fertilization of the egg by sperm, but rather to prevent implantation of an already-fertilized egg. In my mind, to be a consistent anti-abortion advocate, you probably have to oppose the birth control pill as well.

Right or wrong, though, if you oppose the provision of birth control, you should probably not be a pharmacist, and you should definitely not refuse to transfer prescriptions.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2004


neckro23: Those are some pretty subversive birth-controll pills...

It's not a joke. I've known more than one woman who was on the pill by order of a doctor for years before even losing her virginity, just to keep the cycles regular, for various reasons related to other ailments but unrelated to birth control.

Pharmeceutical clerks who refuse to dispense any kind of medication are asking for trouble. And really, considering the range of depressed, anxious, and manic people you would deal with every day, I would think that anyone experienced in doing that job would have learned to keep their mouth shut and not ask to be made the focal point of attention for patients who may be out of medicine.
posted by bingo at 11:04 AM on June 1, 2004


I'm a pharmacist at a Catholic hospital and I occasionally dispense oral contraceptives. Generally they are only used in the hospital setting for victims of rape.

Personally, I think people like this Noesen guy are an embarrassment to the profession.
posted by mokujin at 11:06 AM on June 1, 2004


It seems like the person in question should consider a civil case against Noesen.
posted by bshort at 11:09 AM on June 1, 2004


They are in no way representative of the majority of people, nor are they a "sign of what's to come".

Agreed on the first point, but don't you think that the number of religious nutjobs who feel empowered to impose their beliefs on others has gone up in the past few years? Assuming we get Four More Years, isn't it reasonable to assume that it will encourage them even further? I can't think of any other country in the western world where this sort of thing happens this often. (See also creationists.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:11 AM on June 1, 2004


What "probably"? Where in the hell does it say you get to take a job, then omit executing certain portions of it based on your religious preferences?

Gee, does that mean that a Buddhist working at Burger King has the right to refuse to serve me anything but salads and fries (provided there's no tallow involved?)

I mean, come on - for many jobs, you're asked if there's anything that would prevent you from performing the duties of that job. That includes religious preclusions, too. If the pharmacist's religious beliefs prevent him from dispensing prescribed medication, then he shouldn't be a pharmacist.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2004


Dear god,

rapture them now please.

your friend and mine
-tryp
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:14 AM on June 1, 2004


neckro23: Those are some pretty subversive birth-controll pills...

BCP are also prescribed as a treatment for hormone disorders like hyperprolactinemia, for hormone-caused migraines, for chronic dysmenorrhea, to regulate irregular periods, for endometriosis, to lessen the formation of ovarian cysts, and to improve cystic acne (both on its own, and as a preventative measure when prescribing Accutane, which causes horrific birth defects.)

That's seven uses for BCP that have nothing to do with preventing birth; I'm sure there are more. Refusing to fill a prescription for BCP doesn't just impinge on a woman's right to reproductive choice, it also prevents her from treating multiple common disorders that have nothing to do with sex.
posted by headspace at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2004


What's next, cops not assisting people because they don't believe in the same god? Or doctors refusing care for athiests?

This guy needs to be smacked into reality because he's living in a dream world where your personal beliefs are allowed to dictate how you perform your job. I'd have had the guy fired on the spot for it.
posted by fenriq at 11:16 AM on June 1, 2004


No one is more angered by this type of thing than I, but from a purely legal standpoint, I can't see any way he is in the wrong in declining to fill the scrip. (not transfering may be another issue).

Here's hoping KMart fires the hell out of him, though.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:20 AM on June 1, 2004


Just an echo of earlier comments, really: A part of pharmacist licensing should be a requirement that all valid prescriptions be honored. Period.

Well, I have an uncle who's a pharmacist in a fairly rural area (I don't know if the rural part matters, at all) and he has tons of stories that make me very happy that your statement above does not reflect the reality of pharmacist licensing.

My uncle knows his customers very well, and often has a better sense of their allergies, medical history, etc, than whoever happens to be on duty at the nearest hospitals or clinics. He's certainly saved the lives of at least 20 customers by being more mindful than certain doctors have been.

Also, pharmacists are pretty much the only people who will find out if a patient is shopping around for prescriptions from multiple doctors to get more of a drug than a sensible doctor would allow.

They're the last line of defense a patient has for receiving potentially harmful drugs - they're not just a secretary who fetches drugs like you get pens and pencils from a supply closet. Much like, say, airline pilots who have a ton of discretion to turn the plane around if they suspect a problem, pharmacists exercising due dilligence in checking on a prescription is actually very good for society.
posted by mragreeable at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2004


what's the deal with fundamentalist christians and pharmacies?

i just met my girlfriend's first-assembly-of-god relatives, and they have two young-uns (out of umpteen) who want to be pharmacists.

is there some secret conspiracy i don't know about?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on June 1, 2004


but don't you think that the number of religious nutjobs who feel empowered to impose their beliefs on others has gone up in the past few years?

The ability to spread your message quickly and effectively has increased dramatically with the popularization of the internet and additional tv channels. Because of these technological advances, along with tacit approval from a Republican Party who has done a stellar job of shoring their base, religionists seem more common.

I can see of no statistic or testable anecdotal evidence showing an increase of "fundamentalists" who don't believe in secularism. I do see a message that has become more prevalent, and public, in our society.

But, but...fifteen years ago most gays were still in the closet. Now, although discrimination still exists, more and more homosexual men and women feel comfortable coming out and this country has made great strides to acknowledging and respecting them.

I believe that you are seeing more people, in general, becoming empowered because they have found like-minded people all over the country. MetaFilter is the perfect example of like-minded individuals sharing their thoughts and empowering themselves to further whatever cause.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:29 AM on June 1, 2004


I believe that you are seeing more people, in general, becoming empowered because they have found like-minded people all over the country.

Agreed, but the major difference between your examples is that gay people's empowerment is freedom from discrimination, whereas fundy nutjobs' empowerment is freedom to discriminate.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2004


For people not getting the joke:

bitdamaged: ...there are legitimate uses for some birth control pills outside of preventing contraception.

neckro23: Those are some pretty subversive birth-controll pills...
posted by falconred at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2004


Uh, yeah that cleared things up...
posted by agregoli at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2004


mragreeable: that's well and good, but we're not talking about not giving someone penicillin because they are allergic to it, we're talking about denying someone their meds solely because you have a moral/religious objection to it, not a PROFESSIONAL/MEDICAL objection to it.

Not at all the same situation.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:47 AM on June 1, 2004


mragreeable, there's a distinct difference in doing one's job (i.e. making sure there are no nasty drug interactions) and refusing to fulfill a prescription for a legally available drug because it offends your personal beliefs.

One is a requirement of the job, the other is meddling in other people's affairs and imposing your belief system on them.

It doesn't appear to me that this pharmacist was performing due diligence, he was subjecting people to his own beliefs and that's wrong. No matter the reasoning.
posted by fenriq at 11:49 AM on June 1, 2004


mragreeable was simply responding to the suggestion that "A part of pharmacist licensing should be a requirement that all valid prescriptions be honored. Period." This licensing requirement really is incompatible with the practice of modern pharmacy, which requires the pharmacist to exercise judgement. No need to jump down mragreeable's throat, here.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:57 AM on June 1, 2004


I like how my stupid typo gets amplified by people quoting my snarky comment. Thanks, guys!
posted by neckro23 at 12:02 PM on June 1, 2004


How about if this guy had refused someone their HIV cocktail for moral reasons? Some drug combinations are incredibly tenuous and one missed dosage could serioulsy threaten the balance of the chemicals fending off the spread of the virus.

BlueTrain, it seems to me that these stories are becoming less "freak" with each passing week. Nice to be able to say "don't overreact" because it wasn't you who was refused a scrip.

From the FPP: South Dakota and Arkansas, have passed laws that explicitly protect pharmacists who refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions on moral or religious grounds. Similar legislation has been introduced in 13 other states.
posted by archimago at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2004


For people not getting the joke:

I just got it. "preventing contraception". Enabling conception. No mate needed, just take the pill. Ha!

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:14 PM on June 1, 2004


I have to disagree with your point above Blue Train.

"Great...another "outrage" thread. Freak stories like these are what sell papers and feed the water-cooler storytelling. They are in no way representative of the majority of people, nor are they a "sign of what's to come". Shit like this happens; our stupid newspapers publish it to fill empty spaces and create controversy."

What is representative of the majority of people does not constitute news in and of itself. If you are a potential customer of said establishment who purchases BCP then this story is in fact, news.
posted by filchyboy at 12:16 PM on June 1, 2004


Ha ha ha. Oh.
posted by agregoli at 12:16 PM on June 1, 2004


Does a consumer have a right to demand that a store sell them something? Separate this from the prescription/pharmacist portion and take it down to the root of the transaction. If I go into any retail establishment, do they not have the right to refuse service? Can they not tell me to leave, that they do not wish to accept my money, no matter how much of it I have, in exchange for goods?

If Bob's Groceries or Bergdorf-Goodman or Jack's Jewelry Emporium can send someone packing (for any reason save discrimination against a legally protected class) then why shouldn't the pharmacy at KMart be able to do likewise in a non-emergent situation? It's not the medical aspect, clearly, as no one complains that other medical professionals are fully able to refuse to be a part of any non-emergent/lifesaving treatment which they find objectionable, it's only pharmacists who are held to this "higher" standard.

I have a major problem with the refusal to transfer, but I'm having difficulty in figuring out why the objections of conscience of pharmacists and their right to refuse service as vendors are of no consequence where contraception is concerned. Is the ability to get a birth control pill, on demand, at the pharmacy of your choice truly that sacrosanct?
posted by Dreama at 12:23 PM on June 1, 2004


"If you were right with God, you wouldn't need these."

Well, really, couldn't that be said of any pharmaceutical? I mean, surely in his mind there are no illnesses that God does not send -- or does it say somewhere in the ol' scripture that God has more power over clinical depression than other things? Isn't He, like, omnipotent and everything? One wonders how one can become a pharmacist at all with a belief system like this. If He wants you sick, then surely no pill in the world will help. If He doesn't, no pill needed. So why the career in pharmacy? Sheesh.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:23 PM on June 1, 2004


Dreama, it's not necessarily a "rights" issue, it's a matter of proper business and trade conduct. The pharmacist works for a pharmacy which dispenses these things -- it wouldn't have accepted the prescription in the first place if it did not. Employment-wise, the pharmacist is at liberty to use his/her professional judgement in questioning things involving drug interactions or other red flags, but personal belief systems don't ocme into it if they're not aligned with store policy. A customer should have a reasonable expectation that they'll get consistent and proper service according to established store policy without having to wonder about who's behind the counter that day and what their personal beliefs are, and if the customer can't have that confidence, the store's got some firin' to do.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:31 PM on June 1, 2004


Is the ability to get a birth control pill, on demand, at the pharmacy of your choice truly that sacrosanct?

Would you object to a Christian Scientist pharmacist who refused to fill any prescriptions?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:33 PM on June 1, 2004


Dreama, if the store has a policy of honoring said scrip, then yes, the pharmacist under employ needs to do the effing job he is being paid for. If KMart has a policy of not filling a certain scrip then the point would be moot. The fact alone that the managing pharmacist filled the scrip says that KMart holds no such policy. This man is working for the wrong pharmacy. Am I allowed to do the same? Can I refuse to fill your heart medication scrip because I feel that your religious beliefs are morally oppositional to my own?
posted by archimago at 12:35 PM on June 1, 2004


Imagine if you will a Christian Scientist as a pharmascist. "Sorry, no antibiotics for you. It's against my religion."
posted by Red58 at 12:42 PM on June 1, 2004


Is the ability to get a birth control pill, on demand, at the pharmacy of your choice truly that sacrosanct?

Would you object to a Christian Scientist pharmacist who refused to fill any prescriptions?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:33 PM CST on June 1

Imagine if you will a Christian Scientist as a pharmascist. "Sorry, no antibiotics for you. It's against my religion."
posted by Red58 at 2:42 PM CST on June 1



Heh.

Polygenesis is cool.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2004


A christian scientist pharmacist.

It's like a Catholic Priest being a Marriage counsellor.
posted by prodigalsun at 1:21 PM on June 1, 2004


Polygenesis is cool.

Especially repolygenesis.
posted by beagle at 1:50 PM on June 1, 2004


I don't think that a private pharmacy should have to sell anything to anyone... however - they carry the drug. I doubt they stock it in order to with hold it.

I hope they fire the pharmacist as he is behaving counter to the morals of his employer - which is to make money.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:19 PM on June 1, 2004


Is the ability to get a birth control pill, on demand, at the pharmacy of your choice truly that sacrosanct?

Where do the rights of the individual to act according to their ethical beliefs end and their responsibility to honour the duties required of their profession begin?

I think part of the issue, Dreama, is that this particular pharmacist didn't just refuse to fill the prescription, he refused to transfer the prescription to another store If it had just ended at him refusing to fill the prescription because of his personal ethics, that's one thing; however, he went beyond that and tried to block the woman from having the prescription filled at all. That's where he crossed the line between honouring his personal beliefs and unjustly (illegally? certainly unprofessionally) attempting to stop the woman from filling her (legally obtained) prescription.

There are all kinds of ethical justifications for refusing to fill a prescription, but where does it end? Should an animal rights activist be able to refuse to fill a prescription for a drug that was tested on animals? Should a pharmacist who thinks heroin abuse is a moral lapse be allowed to refuse to fill a prescription for methadone? Should a Jewish/Muslim pharmacist be able to refuse to fill a prescription for pork insulin?
posted by filmgoerjuan at 2:37 PM on June 1, 2004


BCP are also prescribed as a treatment for hormone disorders like hyperprolactinemia, for hormone-caused migraines, for chronic dysmenorrhea, to regulate irregular periods, for endometriosis, to lessen the formation of ovarian cysts, and to improve cystic acne (both on its own, and as a preventative measure when prescribing Accutane, which causes horrific birth defects.)

In fact, it's now the law (at least in California) that a woman must be on a regular cycle of BCP's for at least one month before she will be perscribed Accutane, a drug for severe acne. She will not be allowed on Accutane without first proving that she has been on the pill for the said amount of time. Even if she is a virgin, sexually inactive, whatever... she still has to be on the BCP's if she wants the Accutane.

As the other poster said, BCP's can also help with horomonal problems which cause things like severe menstrual cramping, heavy bleeping, etc... They have also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who have not breastfed as well as ovarian cancer in women who have not given birth.

In short, there are many reasons why a womam would be perscribed the pill which have nothing to do with sex, preventing contraception, or abortion.

It's obvious though that to most of these wacko's a woman's health or best interest is not of their concern.
posted by RoseovSharon at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2004


bluetrain: Dude I think you could be hired today at Foxnews , they need somebody to attack the "liberal" media. I don't see any bias or spinning in that TIME piece, unless one wants to read the question "Can a Pharmacist Refuse To Dispense Birth Control?" as a rethorical question.

The reports offers 2 point of view (Pharmacists for Life , which imho smells of derailing , and Planned Parenthood) and reports the "facts" (refusals by pharmacist). Good enough for me.

I agree with you that there is a sensation of "spinning" in the air ..maybe because some media reports only some facts and only in some spinned way to further someone political agenda ..maybe because others are only in the business of attracting attention of customers to win advertisers praise & money. If you think like me that there is a scarcity of unbiased, factually accurate and financially indipendant media then I think you're right.

On another note: Pharmacist for Life and other religious or political biased organization should f**cking stop asking for no less then laws to give them power to choose on the grounds of some religious or political belief if the patient can have or not have a prescription filled.

Imagine Pharmacist for Geova, refusing to fulfill some prescription on a blood drug. Imagine Pharmacist for "God Chooses When You Must Die", refusing to give lifesaving drugs. Imagine Pharmacists Against Poor People, who believe that being poor is a punishment from God, therefore you shouldn't get drugs for free.
posted by elpapacito at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2004


My wife was put on BCP as part of treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS, aka "ovarian cysts").
One side effect of the birth control is that they *made* her fertile for a few days a month.
posted by mrbill at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2004


there is a scarcity of unbiased, factually accurate and financially indipendant media

I fully agree, but I could do without the following:

I think you could be hired today at Foxnews , they need somebody to attack the "liberal" media.
posted by BlueTrain at 3:35 PM on June 1, 2004


Is the ability to get a birth control pill, on demand, at the pharmacy of your choice truly that sacrosanct?

Why yes, it bloody well is. Not so much for me, as I live in a metropolitan area, but if I lived in BF Nowhere and there was only one pharmacy I could get to - yeah, I would think that's a big deal.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:14 PM on June 1, 2004


Getting back to this late...

skallas: eilatan, so? Guns can be used for murder, yet conservative "thinking" has no problem with that.

Just pointing out that is one reason why some people prefer not to use hormonal birth control, that's all. I have no moral objection to hormonal birth control. (And, in fact, am about as far from being a conservative as possible.)
posted by eilatan at 4:32 PM on June 1, 2004


Didja all know in Britain, the mail carriers don't have to deliver mail they disagree with? How's that for completely fucked, eh?!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2004


Didja all know in Britain, the mail carriers don't have to deliver mail they disagree with? How's that for completely fucked, eh?!

frankly i don't think that they should have a choice, they're employed to deliver letters etc so they should do it, it shouldn't matter if they disagree with the content or not. same goes for pharmacists.
posted by knapah at 5:31 PM on June 1, 2004


"What "probably"? Where in the hell does it say you get to take a job, then omit executing certain portions of it based on your religious preferences?"

A good point, and one worth remembering the next time someone in the military refuses to do their job.
posted by soulhuntre at 6:52 PM on June 1, 2004


mragreeable, there's a distinct difference in doing one's job (i.e. making sure there are no nasty drug interactions) and refusing to fulfill a prescription for a legally available drug because it offends your personal beliefs.

I don't see that there's anything wrong per se with such a refusal. The real problems here were (1) that this guy chose to refuse to provide service that he'd been hired to perform and therefore cheated his employer and (2) he refused to let someone else fill the request for service by refusing to tranfer the prescription.

But imagine for just a minute that he's the proprietor of the pharmacy. Now what? He'd be perfectly within his rights to say "I'm sorry -- we don't provide birth control | ritalin for kids | tricyclic antidepressants" or what have you. Refusing to transfer the prescription would still be wrong, and who knows what consequences might come down on his business if he chooses not to provide certain services because of his beliefs, but you'd create an even *bigger* problem by saying that businesses owners cannot choose what services they can and cannot offer.

If you owned a convenience store, and someone said you'd have to offer cigarettes, wouldn't you be mad as hell?

It would be completely unconscionable if I were a doctor and someone said I was required to provide a service I was morally opposed to, say, euthanasia or an abortion.

Now, if I were looking for a job as a doctor, I should avoid abortion clinics and nazi concentration camps, and if I hire on a 7-11, you'd better believe I will in fact provide cigarettes to customers of the proper age or not be surprised when I'm fired. But none of this changes the fact that business owners should be free to choose what services they provide and don't provide -- and trying to change that would cause civil liberty problems far deeper than any that might linger by leaving it.
posted by weston at 7:10 PM on June 1, 2004


If Bob's Groceries or Bergdorf-Goodman or Jack's Jewelry Emporium can send someone packing...

They're not really pharmacies licensed by the state to dispense medication to people with the proper prescriptions, now, are they?
posted by clevershark at 7:33 PM on June 1, 2004


If you owned a convenience store, and someone said you'd have to offer cigarettes, wouldn't you be mad as hell?

Oh for crying out loud. It's like the Cheese Shop sketch come to life in here.

A pharmacy is a drugstore. It sells drugs. If you owned a cigarette store and someone said you should offer cigarettes, would you be surprised?

The real point here is simple. What's more important?

1. a customer's right to expect that he can buy prescription drugs in a drugstore.

2. a bible-thumping fundy wackjob's right to impose his bible-thumping fundy wackjob belief system on non-bible-thumping non-fundy non-wackjob customers who just wanted to buy their goddamn drugs in his goddamn drugstore.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:50 PM on June 1, 2004


Imagine Pharmacist for Geova, refusing to fulfill some prescription on a blood drug. Imagine Pharmacist for "God Chooses When You Must Die", refusing to give lifesaving drugs. Imagine Pharmacists Against Poor People, who believe that being poor is a punishment from God, therefore you shouldn't get drugs for free.

Imagine everybody on that list, except Pharmacists Against Poor People, going out of business because people will just go to the other pharmacists who aren't like that.

I agree there's no real foul here except the refusal to transfer the prescription. I don't have faith in the market for everything, but I think it could handle this one as long as there are pharmacists offering the services in question.
posted by namespan at 7:56 PM on June 1, 2004


Didja all know in Britain, the mail carriers don't have to deliver mail they disagree with? How's that for completely fucked, eh?!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:42 PM PST on June 1


- First I've heard of it! But Posties do have x-ray glasses over here, tho, so, y'know, what with that and their unfeasibly large...union power, I guess it's possible...
posted by dash_slot- at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2004


Armitage Shanks, your jumping up and down on the bold tag looks an awful lot like "the people who I think are crazy shouldn't be able to do what they want but the people I think of as sane should be able to expect any business to do what they want."

The right to choose what services a business provides easily trumps right of "expectation" any day of the week, and if there's a real problem with services provided, as namespan said, the market can easily take care of this one.

Regarding the cigarette shop -- suppose there exist brands of cigarettes I'm opposed to because of their production practices, or marketing targetting youth, or a more dangerous ingredient sets. Am I stepping on your rights because I don't carry clove cigarettes? If that sounds like I'm stretching the truth, try coffee. If your choice isn't fair trade, and I don't carry it, should I have to stop calling my business a coffee shop?

Your real point is simple: you disagree with the bible-thumping fundies and would step beyond offering alternatives that guarantee individual freedoms, and into dictating policies that would take away theirs because you don't like what they believe. Which, at the very least, puts you on the level of those you're condemning.
posted by weston at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2004


"the people who I think are crazy shouldn't be able to do what they want but the people I think of as sane should be able to expect any business to do what they want."

"The people I think of as sane". Sheesh. We're talking about a woman simply trying to get a prescription filled. In what context is a woman simply trying to get a prescription filled not presumed to be sane?

The right to choose what services a business provides easily trumps right of "expectation" any day of the week,

Not when it's regulated by the state to provide an essential service, it doesn't. It's not difficult to imagine a scenario in a remote community where the refusal to dispense a drug leads to a patient's death. Will the market take care of that too?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:27 PM on June 1, 2004


In what context is a woman simply trying to get a prescription filled not presumed to be sane?

In the context of a store that has made the choice to not fulfill the type of prescription the woman is looking for -- for moral reasons, for economic reasons, or because they don't like the smell (of the prescription, not the woman -- that's when it becomes discrimination rather than a choice about what services ones business will/will not offer).

It's not difficult to imagine a scenario in a remote community where the refusal to dispense a drug leads to a patient's death. Will the market take care of that too?

This point has some validity -- because as namespan said the market only works best where it's possible for someone else to provide a service -- but I do think it is difficult to imagine your scenario in such a way that it bolsters your argument. For one thing, pharmacies are not where one goes to receive extremely time-sensitive medical care. And while we're imagining a rural town in which there's a need for this essential drug, but for some reason no competing source, you have to conclude that it's presumably because no one else can or wants to. Any pharmacist with real moral convictions against whatever life saving drug you've got in mind (far more hypothetical, , given the choice between folding up shop and complying, would fold up shop. Leaving the town with not even a partial set of services.

Let's make it more concrete: suppose you've got a rural community where the only physician who decides to move there is a Jehovah's Witness. He'll provide any kind of medical care except blood transfusions. I wouldn't consider this at all ideal, of course, but what exactly do you gain by barring him from practice -- unless there's someone else in town who will do everything he will and transfusions? In which case, why do you need to bar him?

Finally, we've jumped from arguing about services which are essentially elective and about lifestyle (birth control) to life and death (blood transfusions), and I'm OK with that to some degree because I believe there's similar underlying principles. But there's definitely more than a nuanced difference between the two, and even assuming that you could demonstrate (a) a life and death need for a service which overrides an individuals choices about what they will and will not do (b) a pragmatic argument that says you'll actually improve the situation of a rural community with no competition by your recommended policy -- could you also demonstrate why a line shouldn't be drawn between the life and death and the matter of lifestyle choice? Other than the slippery slope, which slides both ways -- on one side, to the man who denies lifesaving service based on a moral concern to the customer who demands compliance to their arbitrary expectations and can have it enforced by law.
posted by weston at 9:19 PM on June 1, 2004


For prissy arseholes such as weston, perhaps there should be a kind of 'Kosher' or 'Halal' certification for pharmacies? Instead of the green cross, a crucifix could alert people to the fact that the dispensing chemist is a God-botherer who will make moral judgements based upon your prescription.

Once that's in place, let the market decide.

(Of course, one problem would be the need for moral consistency, since if FundiePharm had to certify all of its medications based upon Biblical principles, it'd probably be left stocking castor oil and not much else.)
posted by riviera at 9:20 PM on June 1, 2004


services which are essentially elective and about lifestyle (birth control)

Tell a woman with irregular periods and heavy bleeding that her medication is a lifestyle choice, and you'll be heading to the chemist for aspirin and TCP within minutes. I promise you.
posted by riviera at 9:22 PM on June 1, 2004


Not when it's regulated by the state to provide an essential service, it doesn't

Poppycock. Utter stuff and nonsense. Doctors and nurses are regulated by the state to provide essential services, but they have the freedom to act from their consciences in situations where no one's life is in immediate peril. Even in emergent situations, if a replacement is readily available, they can choose not to offer or participate in certain procedures. The "essential services" argument holds no water.

So I'm still left wanting to know what justifies holding a pharmacist to a different standard?
posted by Dreama at 9:39 PM on June 1, 2004


In what context is a woman simply trying to get a prescription filled not presumed to be sane?

In the context of a store that has made the choice to not fulfill the type of prescription the woman is looking for


Huh?

the customer who demands compliance to their arbitrary expectations

"Arbitrary expectations." A prescription for birth control pills. In 2004. Unbelievable.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:52 PM on June 1, 2004


Armitage & riviera -- so you're saying by law every pharmacy must dispense certain doses of female hormones?

You're going to keep waiting Dreama, at least until they get sick of calling me names and rolling their eyes in lieu of a better argument.
posted by weston at 10:10 PM on June 1, 2004


And riviera, fine with your marking system -- perhaps we could use yellow stars as well, but if the point is to get information out, that's fine, markets and societies usually work better with a free flow of information.

And regarding "FundiePharm" -- it's worth noting this isn't the concept that I'm defending per se. It's the concept that from a pragmatic and moral standpoint, requiring a business or person to perform certain services is problematic, so much so that it may be life & death actually isn't compelling enough for such a requirement. If I were running a pharmacy, I'd sell the pill. But that's a very different statement from saying that if I made the rules, I'd force everyone to carry it, no matter how they felt about it, or not do business at all.
posted by weston at 10:25 PM on June 1, 2004


And riviera, fine with your marking system -- perhaps we could use yellow stars as well

Oh, please, cut that particular brand of shit right out. Or are you going to go round to your local kosher deli and say that their labelling system is anti-semitic? Fuck that.

If you're an orthodox Jew or a devout Muslim and you decide to train as a butcher, then there are private organisations, financed by other Jews and Muslims, to declare that your meat agrees with your religious beliefs. If the fundies want to do the same, and certify their pharmacies as morally sound, then by all means, let them go ahead and foot the bill.

As for the legality: well, I don't know the laws that American pharmacies work under, but I suspect there's a potential tort for breach of contract if the prescription is restricted to a particular pharmacy, and there are no ready alternatives. And in Britain, there's always the Trades Descriptions Act, since a pharmacist using his or her position to evangelise definitely doesn't fit the job description.

Let's ratchet this down a little, though. I have no problem with pharmacists using their judgement based upon professional criteria that are directly related to the particular customer. In Britain, where you have behind-the-counter sales, that happens all the time. But making dispensing decisions based upon religious or moral beliefs is, by definition, prejudice.

It's the difference between a barman refusing to serve someone who's clearly drunk or underage, and refusing to serve someone because said barman is a Mormon.
posted by riviera at 10:40 PM on June 1, 2004


Armitage & riviera -- so you're saying by law every pharmacy must dispense certain doses of female hormones?

She had a valid prescription, and the pharmacy in question carried the drug. It should be professional misconduct for an individual pharmacist to refuse to serve her under those circumstances. If not, then I see no reason why a pharmacist shouldn't refuse to give drugs to Christians on the grounds that they can just go home and pray instead.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:48 PM on June 1, 2004


Oh, please, cut that particular brand of shit right out.

What "brand of shit" did you expect if you call someone a prissy arsehole? :)

But my yellow star comment was my way of suggesting that it's possible to see your marking scheme for the pharmacies not as a way of signalling to people that they can find what they're looking for inside (as the kosher and other marks can), but as a way to signal to others they can find a lesser human who could make a good scapegoat inside, a fitting target for derision and ire. If the use you were imagining was merely the former, then I apologize for bringing yellow stars in.

I have no problem with pharmacists using their judgement based upon professional criteria that are directly related to the particular customer. But making dispensing decisions based upon religious or moral beliefs is, by definition, prejudice.

If not, then I see no reason why a pharmacist shouldn't refuse to give drugs to Christians on the grounds that they can just go home and pray instead.

Don't conflate discrimination / predjudice -- which would be refusing to serve a specific person because of their race, gender, religion, etc. -- with the choice of whether or not to fulfill a specific service at all, to anyone, while still providing any other set of services that are legal. What I'm talking about has little to do with refusing to serve a particular customer and everything about the rights of an individual to choose what services they will / will not provide.

And regarding professional standards, what I'm suggesting is quite in line with, according to the article, what the American Pharmacists Association recommends:
The American Pharmacists Association says pharmacists should be allowed to refuse to fill a prescription. If they do, however, it ought to be filled by someone else or transferred to another pharmacy, the group has said.
Apparently they'd defend even the right of an individual pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription that the pharmacy carries, which is a step farther than I'd go.

She had a valid prescription, and the pharmacy in question carried the drug.

And in the concrete situation in the article, what wasn't right was that the guy apparently held the valid prescription hostage, and furthermore, may have gone against the wishes of his employer, the business owner. Holding the prescription hostage was stupid and crossed the line from deciding what he would/wouldn't do over on to the side of trying to control what she would/wouldn't do. He also made what probably amounted to an unauthorized choice for the business owner.

But if the business owner had simply decided not to carry to the drug, that's a very different thing. And what you seem to be suggesting is that my hypothetical business owner should not be allowed to make that choice.

Which, again, seems as morally troubling to me as dictating that the woman in question might not be able to look elsewhere for the legal drug she's seeking. And, as I've mentioned, not particularly pragmatic either.
posted by weston at 11:28 PM on June 1, 2004


I guess it's okay, then, if the pharmacist refuses to sell insulin that day, too.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:35 PM on June 1, 2004


If the use you were imagining was merely the former, then I apologize for bringing yellow stars in.

Apology accepted; and please accept mine for intemperate language. My thinking was entirely along the lines of kosher or halal certification, which matches up the rules governing the delivery of an ostensibly non-religious service with a particular set of religious beliefs and edicts.

What I'm talking about has little to do with refusing to serve a particular customer and everything about the rights of an individual to choose what services they will / will not provide.

I think you're the one doing the conflating here: 'prejudice' means making a prior judgement (and in this case, one on non-disciplinary grounds) and this applies regardless of the 'particular customer'.

And while you're talking about 'derision and ire', surely you accept that it is demeaning in the extreme to be on the receiving end of a moral lecture from one's pharmacist? It's a sensitive enough interpersonal relationship as it is.

I wonder what would happen if one of that particular pharmacist's non-customers came back and said 'Well, thanks for not giving me my contraceptive pills. I ended up having an abortion instead.'
posted by riviera at 11:51 PM on June 1, 2004


I think you're the one doing the conflating here: 'prejudice' means making a prior judgement (and in this case, one on non-disciplinary grounds) and this applies regardless of the 'particular customer'.

That's the literal meaning, and if taken so, then it may be a proper label for what I'm talking about, since I am advocating letting members of the pharmacy profession make decisions beforehand about what kinds of products /services they will or will not sell.

The popular usage is usually taken to mean one who discriminates on some of the bases that most of us regard as questionable (race, religion, gender....).

And while you're talking about 'derision and ire', surely you accept that it is demeaning in the extreme to be on the receiving end of a moral lecture from one's pharmacist? It's a sensitive enough interpersonal relationship as it is.

I'm not sure how far I'd go to defend the moral lecture portion of this. If I went into a pharmacist, and he said "if you were right with the Lord you wouldn't need these" (or maybe "the Lord is three and one, there's nothing wrong with schizophrenia"), I'd be tempted along with MrLint to punch him in the face.

Yet, if he said "I'm uncomfortable filling this kind of prescription. I'll see if there's someone else who can help you." or even "We've decided at this pharmacy that we're uncomfortable with the manner in which these drugs have become widely prescribed and no longer fill them. We'll be happy to transfer your prescription to another pharmacy of your choice" I might feel put out, but wouldn't feel like I had an particular grievance against the pharmacy/pharmacist.

The former is a statement of moral judgement against the individual coming for help. The latter is a statement about an ethical/moral decision made by the pharmacy/pharmacist. And the latter is what I'm stubornly arguing here should be preserved.
posted by weston at 12:19 AM on June 2, 2004


Didja all know in Britain, the mail carriers don't have to deliver mail they disagree with?

That's the thing about not delivering some mass mailing for the BNP, right?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:43 AM on June 2, 2004


The fact that prescriptions are dispensed in the back of the Wal-Mart next to the cough drops does not mean they are not part of the medical community. I don't know if pharmacists have to take the Hippocratic oath, but they do have to have a special degree and license...hence the higher standard.
posted by JoanArkham at 3:13 AM on June 2, 2004


So I'm still left wanting to know what justifies holding a pharmacist to a different standard?

Provided they carry the drug, they need to dispense it if the patient has no medical contradictions. Period. That's their job.

The former is a statement of moral judgement against the individual coming for help. The latter is a statement about an ethical/moral decision made by the pharmacy/pharmacist. And the latter is what I'm stubornly arguing here should be preserved.
posted


Still though, what if all the pharmacies in a given rural region (the southern U.S. comes to mind) had this attitude? That's not really fair, is it? Access to medications that improve or save someone's life seems to me to be a basic human right.
posted by agregoli at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2004


This annoys me a lot. If you believe birth control is wrong, don't get a job where you have to dispense it. He thinks he's making this awesome stand for something, when really he's just making a stand for his own selfishness, saying he's not willing to give up his job for his beliefs, but he's more than willing to make someone else suffer for them. That is completely non-Biblical, non-Christian, and non-sensical.
posted by dagnyscott at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2004


re: mail carriers: right.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 AM on June 2, 2004


he's just making a stand for his own selfishness, saying he's not willing to give up his job for his beliefs, but he's more than willing to make someone else suffer for them. That is completely non-Biblical, non-Christian, and non-sensical.
Correct, the attitude: you be like Jesus, but not me.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:15 AM on June 2, 2004


given rural region (the southern U.S. comes to mind)
[sigh] It's not the South, it's Middle America both South and North, the Mid West. The last case like this, linked above, needed no large media attention. The locals made enough noise w/o the rest of America making the difference. I live near it so I witnessed it. The folks that shopped there picked their case. The pharmacist will mostly likely lose his job here. There is a process that takes more than a day, time is not on this guy's side, only the stories.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:26 AM on June 2, 2004


What exactly are you protesting about in what I said, thomcatspike? I was referring to a theoretical situation with pharmacies in a given area all having the same sort of policy (and if it's for fanatic religious reasons, and it was in a rural area, yes, the southern U.S. wouldn't be a far stretch for this kind of thing) - if this was in place, and no other option was available, people's rights would undoubtedly be in jeopardy. I was responding to the comment above about why a pharmacy sholdn't have this sort of policy.

And I realize it didn't in the situation. I wish that when we heard these kinds of stories though, that the person was fired on the spot, instead of all this gee-gawing.
posted by agregoli at 12:58 PM on June 2, 2004


...He'll provide any kind of medical care except blood transfusions. I wouldn't consider this at all ideal, of course, but what exactly do you gain by barring him from practice -- unless there's someone else in town who will do everything he will and transfusions? In which case, why do you need to bar him?

It's worth considering that another doctor might not want to bother moving to town if she'd only get the runoff from mr. witness's practice, but might be very happy to move there if she could expect to be the town doctor.

Similarly, if only a small percentage of the customers suffer because of the discriminations of the pharmacist, there may not be enough demand to tempt an competitor to open up shop.

So the question really comes down to what we do when a minority is inconvenienced by the decisions or arbitrations of the professionals. It seems that in order to be licensed as a member of a profession, there ought to be certain guidelines one follows, so that a pharmacist can't pick and choose which medicines he deems acceptable and which he doesn't. It seems fair that he should be able to advise his clients if he wants to, but if the FDA approves a drug, a doctor deems it useful for the patient's condition, and the patient desires to use it, then the pharmacist's only intervention should be if it interacts badly with another doctor's prescription to the same patient, or something like that. To intervene morally seems completely out of place, as far as I can see.

But of course, I have a real block understanding the objection to birth control. It seems just as bizarre as an objection to penicillin in my view, so I can't see why someone would become a pharmacist if they believed that god decides how many babies you get etc - then why doesn't god decide if you get sick or recover etc? So without much sympathy for the position, it's hard to judge quote unquote objectively.

Interestingly, I have just been talking to a doctor about the relation of my menstrual cycle to my epilepsy - I wonder if birth control pills would be a useful medication for my neurological condition, if they're used for migraines...
posted by mdn at 3:02 PM on June 2, 2004


What exactly are you protesting about in what I said, thomcatspike?
Protest no, pointing out is all. The area of America that most family sitcoms are about too.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:31 PM on June 2, 2004


What a cool idea, mdn, re: hormone control = epilepsy control. Find a way to let us know how it works out, k?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:08 PM on June 2, 2004


Well, I got most of my good arguments out the last time we discussed this...when it happened near me, but comments here have raised some interesting points I'd like to address.

mdn's take on licensing and dispensing of prescribed drugs seems right on the money to me.

There is an oath that pharmacists swear to, like unto the Hippocratic, but different. There doesn't seem to be anything in it that says "Oh, except when the drug personally offends my belief system."

Dreama, you mention that doctors/nurses have the leeway to not perform services which they find objectionable...which is true. Using abortion as an example, a doctor can choose *not* to become an abortionist. My ob/gyn has delivered more babies than she can count, and is personally opposed to abortion, so she doesn't offer them. Were someone to ask her however, she would refer them to a doctor who does perform them.

And therein lies the rub. Customers at pharmacies shouldn't be required to ask a series of questions of the pharmacist before handing over their prescriptions....especially if the pharmacist can just make that prescription "disappear" by refusing to transfer it to another pharmacy or by refusing to give it back to you. If these rulings...and laws...stand at the higher court level, then a list of questions is what all customers will have to ask before turning over their prescription notes.

Else, the pharmacy needs to print a clear list of which drugs they refuse to carry or dispense, and should provide a location where those drugs can be purchased.

As a side note to that, please note that many insurance companies mandate which pharmacies clients can use. What happens when the covered pharmacy is Eckerd's, and the only Eckerd's in town won't fill your prescription? I've lived in plenty of towns where there was one pharmacy. Hell, I've lived in towns where there was *no* pharmacy and the nearest one was 20 miles away...what happens when that pharmacy won't dispense the drugs?

Which leads me to the issue of "kosher" type labels at pharmacies. I'm all for it. If these laws are (gods forbid) allowed to stand, and a pharmacy wants to be a restricted service pharmacy, then they should clearly label themselves thusly, thereby allowing customers to easily recognize which pharmacies will not dispense certain treatments.

Just as I prefer kosher lamb and beef, I would prefer a non-judgemental, non-Christian pharmacy. A silver cross at the counter would let me know that I should take my slips of paper somewhere else, lest I lose the time and money I've spent at the doctor's office by handing it over to a pharmacist who may or may not fill it. And then pharmacists who object to animal testing can put a little piggy or cow up...and pharmacists who think that all gay people should die without the aids cocktail can put a little martini glass with a slash through it.

People who prescribe everything mandated by law can have a big "No discrimination based on sex, religion, race or creed" sign...and gods willing, they'll stay in business while the rest of them fade into experimental obscurity.
posted by dejah420 at 8:52 PM on June 2, 2004


We can not afford to let our medical health rely on the whims of individuals.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:14 PM on June 2, 2004


fff, you have a doctor, he is your individual.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:27 PM on June 3, 2004


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