Saturday, March 20, 2004

Misplaced pharmaceutical Heroics

Déjà vu, anyone? An AP story, via the Miami Herald:
A [Wisconsin] state agency is accusing a pharmacist of blocking a woman's attempts to refill her birth control prescription because of his religious beliefs. ... Christopher Klein, spokesman for the Department of Regulation and Licensing, said pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, as long as they transfer the prescriptions to another pharmacy if the patient asks. ...Mr. Noesen was the only pharmacist on duty on the weekend when a woman came in to refill her birth control prescription. He had told the managing pharmacist that he would not fill contraceptive prescriptions because he considered them in violation of his religious beliefs. The woman later went to another pharmacy, but Mr. Noesen allegedly refused to transfer the prescription when that pharmacy called. The woman even returned to the Kmart with two police officers, but Mr. Noesen still refused, and police took no action, authorities said. Finally, she got the prescription refilled when the managing pharmacist returned to work that Monday.
This story is more upsetting than the last one for the following several reasons:
  • One might think that these pharmacists would have learned their lessons by now.
  • The woman was just asking for her regular contraceptive -- not a morning-after emergency pill.
  • He wouldn't even transfer the prescription!
  • Someone official-sounding suggests that pharmacists have a right to refuse to fill prescriptions that they don't want to fill. That's ridiculous, if true.
What good does Mr. Noesen really think he's doing? Does he really think that the world will be a better place if this woman has a harder time getting her birth control? Does he think he's saving human lives? Thanks to his actions, kids will be born who would have otherwise been tragically not-conceived? Gah.

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