When I first saw this story about a CVS pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription for birth control pills on religious grounds I thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke, albeit a bad one. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
My next response was one of stunned outrage. This sort of thing still happens in our country?? *snort*
While I won’t say that it’s a ‘right’ per se, contraception *is* a basic medical treatment for women who’s availability should not be dependant upon the dispensing individual’s personal ideology. The proper execution of a pharmacist’s job in no way involves ‘I don’t believe in birth control’. This applies to any other sort of treatment, for that matter. If the individual’s physician selects a course of treatment, it’s the professional obligation of the pharmacist to fill those prescriptions. While it is also their responsibility to note if there are any possible drug interactions or other problems, those sorts of situations address the safety and well being of the patient. Not their moral stance.
I will also note that while in the vast majority of cases birth control pills are prescribed for contraceptive purposes, there are also other medical conditions where they are the treatment of choice. Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, etc. What if that had been the case with the woman in Texas? By responding on a personal instead of professional basis, that pharmacist was not only being extremely unprofessional but could have been putting that patient at risk medically.
I would have been extremely unhappy if I had been involved in such an incident, and can guarantee that I would have sat at that pharmacy until I had received my medication. I would undoubtedly have initially been polite, but can see where I would have ended up being very emphatic (supr sekret code for ‘shouting’ ;) ) about the situation and demanded at the very least to speak with someone at corporate immediately. I also would have been quite happy to inform the media about the situation as it was occurring. Not to mention reporting her to the state board and requesting that her license be suspended.
Upon further research I discovered that initially CVS *supported* this travesty by saying that that refusing to fill prescriptions based on personal beliefs was allowed according to CVS standards. !!! No surprise that they backpedaled fiercely and shortly stated that the pharmacist had not, in fact, followed company policy after all. I imagine that they are continuing to face a firestorm for this situation and I will be interested to see what their response and resolution is.
I think when one’s personal beliefs are in conflict with one’s professional obligations to the extent that they cannot fulfill said obligations then they just need to find a more suitable line of work, hmmm?