Consider this scenario.
A woman walks into a bank, and up to the teller’s window. You are the teller. She pulls out a check from her purse, made out to her in the amount of $5,000. She slips it under the teller window, to you, and asks you to cash it for her. You look at the check–its from a casino. Uh oh. You are against gambling in any form whatsoever. You think its immoral and wrong, a sin!! Its against your religion and beliefs to condone such a practice, therefore you refuse to cash the check. Its against your beliefs, so why should you be made complicit in the rampant, sinful gambling of others, right? Right???
Abel Pharmboy has a very thoughtful discussion on whether pharmacists have the right (or even obligation) to refuse to fill a prescription that might conflict with their personal beliefs. This is a serious issue, and has already been tested in the public sphere.
(More below the fold)
I think pharmacists are given too much credit, and too much autonomy, due to the fact that they must now fulfill a 6-year degree and are paid well. To me, they are a cog in the machine of getting patients their meds. Now, I’m not slighting the intelligence of anyone who pursues this field, or that it is less than challenging. But their role is to fill the prescriptions that are written by doctors, period. They, themselves, are NOT doctors. They have neither the authority or training to interfere, change, deny, or substitute in any way the mandate of the personal physician of a patient. This patient has a relationship with the doctor that a pharmacist, no matter how friendly and helpful, will ever have. The doctor has the knowledge and the training to give sound medical advice, which the pharmacist should be legally bound to follow to the “t.”
This does not mean that pharmacists should turn a blind eye to drug abuse or malpractice, of course. And I see one of the primary reasons that pharmacists are becoming a more “important” cog in the machine is because of the war on drugs and in escalation of prescription drug abuse. Pharmacists are vital in reducing this abuse.
But part of any job is checking your personal beliefs at the door, or checking out. No one is forcing you to be in a certain position, therefore if pharmacists (or bank tellers) have a problem filling an order from a higher authority, well, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.