Can pharmacists srill refuse to fill a birth control prescription?

Kimberlee - posted on 11/03/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I'm a little unsure what this means ..Don't individual States still have conscience laws allowing the discrimination against people or does Obama rescinding this mean all pharmacists will have to fill prescriptions regardless ??



article - ( link - http://www.care2.com/causes/obama-admini...)



After two years of trying, the Obama administration finally succeeded, late last week, in rescinding the “conscience clause,” a federal regulation designed to protect pharmacists and health care workers who want to refuse to provide care based on moral or religious grounds. This often translated into pharmacists being able to deny their customers contraceptives or HIV medications, and health care workers refusing to perform in-vitro fertilizations for lesbians or single women. An ambulance driver in Chicago even rejected a woman’s need for transportation for abortion, and there were reports of drugstore workers refusing to sell condoms to men they perceived to be gay.



The new rule only leaves space, which is far less controversial, for doctors and nurses who conscientiously refuse to perform abortions or sterilizations. Health care workers who feel that their rights have been violated can also file complaints.



As the Washington Post points out, this is likely to spark intense debate, especially since Republican legislators are trying to ensconce these regulations in law. The Bush regulation, which was put in place in the last days of his presidency, would have cut off federal funding to institutions that did not comply with these conscience rules. One of the most commonly cited objections to the regulation was that the rules extended far beyond health care workers, allowing receptionists to refuse to make appointments for abortions and janitors to decline to clean up operating rooms where abortions were performed.



This is a clear victory for women’s ability to access abortion, and more generally for people to gain access to contraceptives, HIV medications, and other procedures to which some may morally object.



“Without the rescission of this regulation, we would see tremendous discrimination against patients based on their behavior and based just on who they are,” said Susan Berke Fogel of the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group based in the District. “We would see real people suffer, and more women could die.”



But some Republicans are, clearly, eager to undermine this step forward. We will continue to watch what happens in Congress, and keep you posted on future choice victories or encroachments on women’s rights.







Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/obama-admini...

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Mary - posted on 11/04/2012

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It does get a little bit murky - at least for me. The way that our healthcare system is set up, many doctor's practices and pharmacies are independent businesses. They are the owners and sole proprietors of that "business", and therefore should have some degree of control and say over which services they are willing to provide.



I might not like it, and I may find their reasoning ridiculous, but I'm not sure that a private business owner should be forced to provide a service or product that they find morally objectionable. Now, if all of healthcare, including pharmaceuticals, were to be federally funded and operated, that would be a whole different ballgame. As it stands, your local pharmacy is privately owned and operated - be it by an individual or a large corporation. As such, they are as free to refuse to sell contraception as Target or Walmart is to not sell my brand of dog food. It may be inconvenient for me, and I might have to drive another 10 miles to get it at Petco, but it doesn't equate to me being unable to obtain it.



Again, I want to clarify that I am not some morally judgmental or pious asshole that is againt the use of contraception, abortion, or sterilization. I am firmly in favor of personal choice, and a strong advocate of contraception. It's just that as much as I despise the types of people who get on their moral high horse about this stuff, and want to force their beliefs on the rest of society, I (reluctantly) have to concede that they have just as much right to those beliefs as I do mine. I also recognize that yes, a pharmacist that does everything but provide BC is still doing their job for the hundreds of other customers they serve, and the OB/GYN that does everything but elective terminations is still fulfilling their responsibilities as well. We as women of childbearing age tend to exaggerate the prevalence of these two topics because they are relevant to us; they really are only a small part of the many other services that they provide.



As it is now, not all pharmacies are truly "full service" pharmacies that provide every drug out there. For example, your average CVS, RiteAid, or Walgreens doesn't provide compounded drugs - or if they do, they only do it for a select set of drugs (i.e. liquid antibiotics for babies). If this is something you need, you will have to seek out a specialty pharmacy that does this. For example, when I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, I was immediately prescribed progesterone suppositories to help prevent 1st trimester loss. This is a compounded drug, and no pharmacy within 25 miles of me did this. I had to search out a specialty pharmacy that did. This had nothing to do with any conscientious clauses or objections - it's just the way things are. It also doesn't mean that my local pharmacies are somehow negligent, lacking, or not meeting the needs of their customers - it just meant that they chose not to perform a specific (non-emergent) service that I was in need of at that time.

Kimberlee - posted on 11/04/2012

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Thanks Mary , I looked into it more and yeah pharmacists etc can still refuse to fill prescriptions and claim their conscience as an excuse.



Wish someone would put an end to that. If my Doctor writes me a script it a Pharmacist should not be able to veto it. If pharmacists don't agree with the use of all the medications available they shouldn't be pharmacists. It's like hiring an Amish man to drive a bus.

Mary - posted on 11/04/2012

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I could be wrong, but from what I understand, the federal regulations are only applicable to those institutions (be they a hospital, clinic, or the care providers for them) that receive federal financial assistance (FFA) from the Department of Health and Human Services. They also only relate to abortion (specifically elective abortions) or sterilizations.



Now, it should be noted that this does not give an institution or individual practitioner the "right" to refuse someone emergency medical treatment. EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) does provide patients protection from a provider refusing care based on personal moral/religious convictions in a life-threatening emergency.



To clarify a bit - this does still give private, independent care providers - including a pharmacist - a bit of personal leeway in non-emergent situations, especially if they are not receiving any type of federal funding. It also allows the states to create their own conscience clauses - but again, they have to remain in compliance with the federal statutes regarding EMTALA.



Some of the examples in the link you provided are a bit questionable. For example - I cannot fathom a reason why an ambulance would be expected to provide "transportation" for a woman seeking an elective abortion. Ambulances should only be used for medically indicated transports - they are not a taxi service. The only way I can see it being required in this scenario is if a woman is hemorrhaging - in which case, even if the bleeding is the result of a pharmaceutical abortion gone bad, refusing to transport her would be a violation of EMTALA. If the woman in this scenario was just looking for a ride for her scheduled appointment to abort at a clinic, than he was right on grounds that have nothing to do with any type of conscience clauses.

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