For the first time ever, the Health and Human Services secretary publicly overruled the Food and Drug Administration, refusing Wednesday to allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter, including to young teenagers. [more inside]
Plan B, also called the "morning after pill" is an emergency contraceptive. Some pharmacists have refused to stock and fill the prescription, citing ethical reservations, causing the AMA to affirmatively state its support for the contraceptive and urge pharmacists to sell it and for the FDA to allow over-the-counter distribution. A partial victory was achieved in 2006 to allow OTC dispensing without a doctor's note for those over 18 years of age. However, some pharmacists continued to refuse to fill the prescription, including the owners of Ralph's Thriftway pharmacy chain in Washington State in 2006, causing some to boycott the chain. Ralph's was later found by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy to have violated the state pharmacy code in so doing. Ralph's lawsuit to block the ruling reached the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which has now ruled against the pharmacy chain, saying ALL pharmacists must stock and dispense the contraceptive. [more inside]
Via AmericaBlog: Target responds to recent coverage of their policies on dispensing emergency contraception with a fluffy PR email that invokes, of all things, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (No news yet on whether Jewish cashiers can refuse to sell pork or vegan cashiers can refuse to ring up all meat...) Unfortunately, Target isn't the only company doing this. But their popularity has made them a ripe target (!) for criticism. Whose civil rights are more important? Pharmacists' or customers'?