Sunday, January 28, 2007
The National Women's Law Center has updated its guide on pharmacist refusals, Don't Take "No" for an Answer. From the Introduction:
Do patients have the right to receive lawfully prescribed medication without delay or humiliation from their pharmacist or pharmacy? Do pharmacists or pharmacies have the right to refuse to dispense lawfully prescribed medication based on their religious, moral or personal beliefs? While in many states, state laws and regulations do not explicitly address the issue, as discussed below, there is much support for the legal duty of pharmacists to dispense medication without regard to their personal beliefs.
Permissible justifications for pharmacist refusals, such as evidence of forgery, abuse, mistaken dosage, or contraindication, are very different from a growing number of occurrences of pharmacists who refuse to fill valid prescriptions simply because the pharmacist disapproves. The legally permissible reasons for a pharmacist or pharmacy to refuse to dispense a medication is based on what is medically in the interest of the patient, as judged by the professional training of the pharmacist, not on his or her personal beliefs.
Despite legal and professional obligations, there have been many incidents of pharmacists and pharmacies refusing to fill women’s birth control prescriptions. These refusals can have devastating consequences for women’s health. Access to contraception is critical to preventing unintended pregnancies, to enabling women to control the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, and to protecting women’s health and their ability to bear healthy children.
The guide includes an overview of laws and regulations that govern the dispensing of prescription medications. Read about the NWLC's Pharmacy Refusal Project.