Why Pharmacists Should Not Inject Personal Beliefs Into Their Jobs

There is one simple reason why a pharmacist's personal beliefs should not factor into the dispensing of medication that, to me, takes precedence over all others.

Medications rarely, if ever, have one use. A single medication can be prescribed for a variety of reasons. This causes a problem: a pharmacist might refuse to dispense birth control pills on the religious grounds that the pill prevents conception and therefore prevents life. But what if the pill was not prescribed for prevention of pregnancy?

This is not an uncommon occurrence. There is a range of therapeutic value for birth control, from the treatment of severe acne to the regulation of much more serious medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and dysmenorrhea, to name a few.

These are serious medical conditions that detract from the ability of a woman to carry out her day-to-day activities. For all you right-wing morality police, yes that includes the penultimate--birthing and raising children. Try disciplining little Bobby when your uterus is spinning excruciatingly painful scar tissue around your intestines, ovaries, vagina, stomach, and in some cases even lungs. If family values are your issue, then keep in mind that endometriosis can actually lead to infertility!!!

Furthermore, these conditions are not the business of anyone on the outside of the doctor-patient relationship. Second-guessing a doctor's prescription for professional reasons is one thing; it ensures that the treatment is safe and appropriate. For a pharmacist to second-guess the purpose of a prescription, based solely upon religious reasons, is nothing short of misogyny at best (in this case). At worst it is potentially life-threatening.

More like this

tags: sex, abortion, feminism, family planning, medicaid, Department of Human and Health Services, contraceptives, birth control pills This morning, I heard an astonishing interview on WNYC that discussed a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft document that was just leaked. This…
I'm so angry I can barely type coherently. I have very strong feelings about abortion, but I believe it is possible to respectfully disagree about the ethical issues involved. I have an obstetrics colleague who does not perform abortions, but refers patients needing this service to others. That'…
As someone who has been associated with colleges of pharmacy as student or professor for 25 years, I feel compelled to weigh in on the debate raging in the US between a pharmacist's right of conscientious objection to filling certain prescriptions and their responsibilities as a licensed health…
The discussion we've had since Friday regarding the Bush administration's latest foray into theocracy brought up some interesting points. We discussed implications of the draft regulations including likely limitations on access to safe and effective birth control. But there is another issue here…

no kidding! its further complicated by the fact the this "no pills b/c i'm a christian" stuff happens in the places where there are no other options. as if a woman can just drive 20, 30, 40 50+ miles to get a pack of bcp's every month.

it's a mess, i tell you-- a mess!

There are some online pharmacies that deal with health insurance companies. If your provider will allow it, you can have your prescription sent directly to your home.

Bravo! I agree, they should not be able to bring their religion to their job, if they didn't want to dispense birth control they shouldn't have become pharmacists. Even the insurance companies are still guilty of this kind of thing, at least ten years ago. My dad's insuranse wouldn't cover birthcontrol for contraception, only medical conditions, but would have paid 100% for a teeange pregnancy. Isn't that bad planning money wise?

By Queen of the Harpys (not verified) on 30 Jun 2006 #permalink

True, many pharmacies will mail to your home, but there are two problems with that, when it comes to oral contraceptives. For one, when a person needs emergency contraception, waiting for the mail is not good. Two, the mail is not always private. Unless the person can be sure that she is going to be the one to get the mail that day, privacy is not assured.

Good points Joseph. I thought the post should include all forms of birth control since ultimately all forms are targeted. But you're right, there is no way you can expect to get ECs in the mail on time.