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Yet another moralizing pharmacist

What an outrage.

A pharmacist refused to fill a North Richland Hills woman’s prescription for birth-control pills this week, but the woman hopes her experience will provoke an examination of pharmacists’ power over patient care.

Julee Lacey, 32, a first-grade teacher and mother of two, ran out of birth-control pills Sunday night and went to her local CVS pharmacy for a last-minute refill. The new pharmacist at the branch told her, “I’m sorry, but I personally do not believe in birth control, so I will not fill your prescription,” Mrs. Lacey recalled.

Her husband and the assistant manager could not persuade the pharmacist to change her mind.

When pressed, the pharmacist added that birth-control pills “cause cancer.”

“I think my doctor should make these decisions,” Mrs. Lacey said. “If they’re going to decide not to do birth-control pills, where are they going to draw the line?”

CVS officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but a company spokesman told KXAS-TV (Channel 5) that a pharmacist who cannot fill a prescription because of a deeply held belief should ask another pharmacist to do so or call a competing store, if needed.

The incident may stoke a national debate that has put pharmacists on the front lines of the abortion issue.

In January, Eckerd drugstores fired a Denton pharmacist and two co-workers for refusing to sell the “morning-after” emergency contraceptive to a woman identified as a rape victim.

This jerk deserves to get fired just like the Eckerd’s idiots did. Here’s CVS’ corporate contact info if you’d like to help them come to the right decision.

Officials at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which dispenses contraception and medical care, including abortions, decried what appeared to be “a dangerous trend” and called birth-control pills “basic health care.”

But Elizabeth Graham, director of the Houston-based Texas Right to Life Committee, has said pharmacists have a moral right to refuse to fill some prescriptions.

According to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, pharmacists may decline to fill prescriptions if they might harm patients, but not on moral grounds.

Moral right, my uvula. Would you expect a steakhouse to keep a waiter who refused to serve beef because he believes meat is murder? It’s the same damn thing.

One more thing: Anyone want to bet that if Julee Lacey’s husband had gone into this CVS to buy a box of condoms, the pharmacist would have rung up the sale without batting an eye?

Via Retrogrouch.

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  1. Ginger says:

    You know, in the nineteenth century, doctors refused to anesthetize women in delivery because it was God’s will they suffer in childbirth because of Eve’s sin. I’m sure that was a deeply held moral conviction, too.

  2. kevin whited says:

    I certainly don’t condone this behavior. I don’t know their hiring/firing policies, but I would think this should jeopardize the woman’s employment.

    Here’s a hypothetical, though — if the pharmacist had simply advised on the health risks of birth-control pills (perhaps even strongly), but filled it, would that have been going over the line?

    That one’s a tougher call for me. It would be annoying, and would probably result in my business (well, not MINE obviously, but you get the idea) going elsewhere, but I don’t know if it would be infuriating.

  3. Sue says:

    I wonder how many times he’s filled prescriptions for people addicted to pain killers. Shouldn’t he be just as morally outraged by the possibility that filling a prescription might be helping somebody be hooked on a drug? And isn’t it also possible that he’s filled prescriptions for drugs like Ritalin that some kids are taking but don’t really need? Shouldn’t that be something he’d be morally opposed to, as well?

    Tim and I pretty much agreed on this one in January: If you feel you can’t give out a prescription for something, find another job or make sure there’s always somebody there with you to fill that prescription.

  4. Here’s a hypothetical, though — if the pharmacist had simply advised on the health risks of birth-control pills (perhaps even strongly), but filled it, would that have been going over the line?

    I guess that depends. Is it legit info given in sincerity, or is it more like a scare tactic? Is the pharmacist as thorough in giving such info for all drugs, or just birth control pills? Is the info still given after the customer indicates she understands and accepts it? That sort of thing.

  5. Ginger says:

    While the last pharmacist I dealt with (at the CVS at Westheimer and the Loop, as it happens) was very good about telling me things I needed to know about my prescription, many are not.

    I wish they would tell women more about the side effects and drug combination issues with the Pill. Most women I know are aware that antibiotics mess up the Pill, but few of us learned it from the pharmacist.

    On the other hand, having heard “not one, not two, not three, but thirty-three studies” from Same Old Bill a number of times, I would resent patronizing harrassment. If I were the pharmacist’s boss, I’d lean on him or her not to lecture patients on grounds that it’s bad for business.

  6. Steve Bates says:

    Here’s a hypothetical, though — if the pharmacist had simply advised on the health risks of birth-control pills (perhaps even strongly), but filled it, would that have been going over the line?

    Doesn’t the line differ between advice given in a private conversation and advice given in a professional capacity?

    One would think a pharmacist would have no right to give unsolicited advice on a matter already determined by a physician… especially if the advice is based on bad information and personal philosophy, not the expert knowledge a pharmacist is supposed to have.

    If there are well-documented side-effects of a medication, I am happy to be reminded of those side-effects by a pharmacist. But a lecture on the merits of birth control by a pharmacist acting in his/her capacity as a pharmacist is always outside the pale. The pharmacy is no place for moral instruction. A pharmacist who does not understand the distinction should find another occupation.

    An aside: for CVS, such gratuitous moral advice-giving by their pharmacists is bad for business. My evidence? I, for one, will not trade with them anymore, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

    (OT, did everyone see MaxSpeak’s transformation of the beginning of the Hippocratic Oath? “Frist, do no harm…”)