Sunday, March 16, 2008

“Allowing pharmacists to put their religious beliefs between doctors and patients is a prescription for disaster”

Pharmacists should be not be allowed to refuse to dispense prescribed medication because of personal ethical problems with that medication. Period. Pharmacists are part of a profession dedicated to help, not harm the patient. If they don’t want to fill prescriptions determined necessary by the doctor, then maybe they should find another field to work in.

As's Austin Cline points out;

Refusals to dispense contraceptives because of one’s moral objections to contraceptives is not like refusing to dispense medication that will have a bad interaction with some other medication or because of a health condition that the patient has. In these latter cases, the pharmacist is making a judgment that the physician would have made if they had been aware of the relevant information — the pharmacist is not substituting their medical or ethical judgment for that of the physician or the patient.

That, however, is exactly what is happening when the pharmacist refuses to dispense contraceptives. This isn’t a medical decision and it isn’t a judgment that we can assume the doctor would have made given more information. Instead, the pharmacist is substituting their own personal and religious standards for those of the patient, something that not even the physician has a right to do when it comes to standard medical care.

Here is the latest news from Americans United of just one of the many battles concerning this issue:

Washington State Has The Right To Require Pharmacists To Fill Doctors’ Prescriptions, Says Americans United
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

“Regulations Ensuring Patient Access To Medication Are Neutral And Do Not Single Out Religious Belief, Argues Watchdog Group In Court Brief”

A Washington State Board of Pharmacy regulation that requires pharmacies to dispense all medications in a timely manner does not trample on religious freedom rights and should be upheld, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told a federal appeals court.

Attorneys with Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In the brief, AU asks the appellate panel to send the decision back to the district court for consideration.

“Allowing pharmacists to put their religious beliefs between doctors and patients is a prescription for disaster,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “These regulations are simply designed to make sure that pharmacists do the job they are paid to do.”


1 comment:

tina FCD said...

I agree. That's their job.