11 January 2005

Should pharmacists be allowed to say No?

Chad over at Freak Machine Press has point me to an article published in the Monterey Herald, regarding a bill that would require pharmacists to sell contraceptives, even if it went against their beliefs. The bill is being vehemently opposed by organizations such as Pharmacists for Life. (Levine is also putting forth a law that would allow physician-assisted suicide.)


SACRAMENTO - Pharmacists would be required to fill prescriptions for contraceptives even when it goes against their religious or moral beliefs under a bill proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys.

The issue has become increasingly controversial across the country, particularly in more conservative areas of the South and Midwest, where some pharmacists have refused to dispense birth-control or ''morning-after'' pills, and about a dozen states have passed laws to protect them.

While the debate has yet to ignite in California, Levine is looking to tackle the issue before it does.

''A pharmacist's job is to fill the prescription that a doctor prescribes for a patient,'' Levine said. ''The relationship is between the doctor and patient, not the pharmacist and patient. If we allow them to decide which prescriptions to fill and not to fill, it creates a whole lot of problems.''

The bill is still in early form and would not penalize pharmacists who refuse to provide contraceptives.

A group representing pharmacists objecting to contraceptives said pharmacists should retain the right to make their own decisions based on their beliefs and their clinical judgments.

''California will get the pharmacist shortage it deserves if you all pass that bill,'' said Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists For Life International. ''Because if you want to take away the pharmacist's dispensing authority -- the pharmacist's ability to make clinical decisions -- you won't need any pharmacists out there.''

Brauer added that she opposes birth control because she does not feel the hormone-based pills are safe for women and she objects to the social consequences.

''Birth control serves to make women sexually available to men at the convenience of men and not at the most convenient time necessarily for women. It's really to place women at the service of men.''

Assembly Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said the state shouldn't decide what pharmacists should or should not sell.

''Now the state government is going to start dictating what we have in pharmacies?'' he said. ''I don't think we're the best to do that. I think the consumer and the free market have determined what sells inside a business. I'm not into telling pharmacies what they have to sell.''


CE Petro said...

It would have been a good thing if the damn Federal Refusal Clause didn't pass in the first place. Then pharmacists would be held accountable for not dispensing emergency birth control, and birth control in general, as they should. As Levine say's the relationship is between the doctor and patient, not pharmacist and patient. All pharmacists should be held accountable for not dispensing prescriptions as written by a doctor.

Cosa Nostradamus said...

Wow. Their record profits aren't enough for these hypocrits, hunh? Does their delicate morality prevent them from dispensing bogus, harmful or astronomically priced drugs? Is there no Hippocratic Oath for these jokers? No professional asssociation or Board who can sanction them? They should be picketed and closed down, shut off from those big bucks. Scumbags. How 'bout if I refuse service to Fundies, then? Hey, let's build up a database on these guys, and start a boycott!

Karlo said...

Truly. I wonder how many ethical pharmacists have refused to keep dispensing sleeping pills to the same patient. Or have otherwise refused to dispense drugs they know to be ineffective.

Chad Parenteau said...

As I was going to post elsewhere before seeing the new post here:

Pharmicists should not be allowed in any way shape or form to overturn doctors, period.

It's just a way for pro-life people to attack those with an informed, non faith-based opinion, i.e. real doctors. A medical professional claiming they can make a medical judgment based on (religuous) belief and scientific diagnoses is absurd.

With all this talk about the government telling pharmacies what to sell, one seems to be talking about the most pertinent point: The fact that the government is currently letting yahoos take the power away from medical professionals who are infinitely more qualified to diagnose a patient and figure out what is write for him or her.

When was the last time anyone asked a pharmacist to diagnmose anything.

I guess it saves the legal problems surrounding just going around and shooting doctors.

I love the quote from Karen Brauer from the article in your most recent post: ''...[I]fif you want to take away the pharmacist's dispensing authority -- the pharmacist's ability to make clinical decisions -- you won't need any pharmacists out there.''

Works for me.

Chad Parenteau said...

By the way, all spelling errors in the last post (and in this one) are completely intentional.

Karlo said...

I don't see why more drugs (or all drugs?) aren't simply sold over the counter at super-markets. It's annoying when one has to go to a doctor to buy medicine for say athlete's foot. What's the concern--that someone's going to abuse the ointment? Sell it on street corners?

delftsman3 said...

I am pro-life, but I don't see dispensing contaceptives as being anti-prolife. Pharmacists should dispense as a doctor prescribes, period. (unless he has information that a patient has scripts from more than one doctor that may prove harmful if taken together)

Cosa Nostradamus said...

That's the thing about the radical anti-choice assholes: They're against all sex, except for procreation. They'd ban rubbers, and all forms of non-procreative sex. That means blow jobs, and eating pussy, kids. Yeah. It's still illegal in some jurisdictions, even between husband & wife. If you weren't born in the 50's, or before, or in the freakin' Bible Belt, you can't IMAGINE what it was like: As repressive as the Taliban, right down to the bone(r). If we give thse scum an INCH, they'll shove the whole mile up our asses. And no KY: It'll be illegal...

That's why we all have to defend each others' rights, even on stuff we may not like ourselves: Cuz they'll be after YOUR rights, next. Nobody has any business in MY business, right? Or yours, either, I don't care what it is, cuz, chile' it ain't MY bizniz. Get it? What part of PRIVATE don't these Nazi's understand? FIGHT 'EM!

Anonymous said...

pharmacists are now held just as much responsible as doctors if a medication error is made. if any bozo could dispense a prescription, pharmacists wouldn't have to spend 6 years and thousands of dollars going to college for the privilege of doing so. in that process, there is way more education on drugs, how they work in the body, the harm that they do, the interactions that are possible, than doctors ever get. there is a reason that there are 2 separate professions. comments were made about dispensing sleeping pills to patients, but what about the doctors who write the prescriptions? they are more ethically challenged than the pharmacists who fill them, because they have a lot more information on the damage that is being done. any drug can cause harm, most drugs can do some good in the right situation. pharmacists have to continually fight for the respect they deserve as the drug information professionals that they are. take that away, and there will be lot more people dead every year from medication mismanagement. let it bloom and the world will be a much safer place, believe me.

ca, rph, bcpp