Wednesday, March 30, 2005

American Taliban invades your pharmacy

A distubing trend is developing in pharmacies across the nation as some pharmacists have been refusing to fill prescriptions that they feel morally opposed to such as birth control or the morning-after pill. And when pressured to actually do their job and fill the prescriptions these pharmacists hide behind the first amendment and claim religious persecution.

What utter and ridiculous tripe. If you're a pharmacist your job is to fill the prescriptions patients are given by their doctor - there is nothing in the job description that says you get to pick and choose what medications you find acceptable. If the reasoning was anything other than religion we would not even give this nonsense a second thought, but instead 11 states are actualy considering legislation to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for religious reasons.

If the job conflicts with your belief system then find another job, but don't you dare use your position to enforce your dogma on someone else or to stand in the way of their reproductive freedom or to impede their right to medical treatment.

I pity the person unfortunate enough to walk into a pharmacy run by a Christian Scientist.

EDIT - I see that this story is picking up a bit in some of the alternative press sites. For a better understanding of why I refer to these pharmacists as "Taliban" check out this article at Media Matters


Scott said...

What is your opinion in the case of a private pharmacy which states its opposition--as a company--to fulfilling certain prescriptions, for whatever reason?

I agree that it's asinine to refuse prescriptions, but why single religion out? Let's say a pharmacist from a family with a history of prescription drug abuse refused to fill valium prescriptions. I'm sure it has happened. The point is, in many jobs, scientific or otherwise, people use their subjective belief system (religious or otherwise) to rationalize their behavior. In most cases, a company like Walgreens could simply fire the offender--however if the company itself subscribes to the belief it is an entirely different matter.

Thanks for the insightful post!

Hume's Ghost said...

I'm against a company refusing prescriptions, too. And it has already started to happen - Walmart pharmacies do not carry the morning after pill. When this happens in a small town where Walmart may be the only pharmacy then that company has an undue ability to shape what medications a person has access to.

The reason I single out religion is that this movement can be traced to various fundamentalist organizations, as was seen in the article at Media Matters. If I start to see news reports of pharmacists withholding medication for various other illegitimate reasons I will speak out against that as well.

I'd like to know where these "conscientious objectors" will draw the line. Will our governmentt deem it acceptable for future Fallwell-like pharmacists to refuse to dispense AIDS medication to gay men because they believe HIV is a punishment from God? This is the type of mentality that I find so alarming and am loathe to see receive government sponsorship.