United States of Hypocrisy

with Greg Tyzzer

Refusing to Fill Prescriptions

with 6 comments


Let me start by saying that I am not savvy whether there are laws about this. Let me also say that I am not sure how often the following scenario happens.

You are a sixteen-year-old girl. You go to your doctor who prescribes you birth control pills. When you hand the prescription to the pharmacist, he refused to fill the prescription. He says, “You’re too young to be having sex. It’s morally wrong to fill this prescription because that would be encouraging you to have sex.” No matter how much you plead with the pharmacist, he refuses to fill your prescription. You call your doctor and let her talk to the pharmacist. The pharmacist still refuses to fill your prescription.

What should be done in a situation like this? What if you were prescribed birth control as a way to help regulate your period (I have several friends who use it for just that)? Is this any of the pharmacist’s business, or should he just do his job?

I believe that it is a pharmacist’s duty to fill any and all valid prescriptions–no questions asked. When you are doing a job, you have to set your morals aside, especially when the actions in question are essentially harmless. It is none of the pharmacist’s business why birth control was prescribed. All he needs to know is the brand and the dosage.

Leave a comment telling me your thoughts.

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Written by Greg

March 10, 2011 at 12:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. When you are doing a job, you have to set your morals aside…

    I’m going to have to pick on this bit. I think it’s actually a big part of the issue here. One’s job should not be able to overrule one’s sense of right and wrong.

    That said, I think the pharmacist should follow their conscience. If their employer decides that means they can’t do their job correctly, then can the pharmacist be fired? I’m not sure what the current law is, and I’m not sure what I think it should be. But the pharmacist should follow their conscience regardless of whether the law says they can be fired, sued, or what have you.

    As a possibly-important note, I’ve never heard that argument used before: “You’re too young to be having sex. It’s morally wrong to fill this prescription because that would be encouraging you to have sex.” I’ve always heard of not wanting to fill prescriptions for certain kinds of birth control that, when functioning correctly, cause what some people would consider to be abortions. I’ve actually never heard it as an issue of whether or not the pharmacist thinks the patient should be having sex.

    Joel

    March 10, 2011 at 1:30 am

    • In either scenario, I firmly believe that it’s none of the pharmacist’s business. If you take a job that you know may eventually challenge your morals, you should either do your job, or find another one. That’s like a Vegan working in the meat department at Walmart.

      Greg

      March 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm

  2. Let me say, as a woman who fought this very problem, that I do not believe pharmacists should be able to decide what to fill and what not to fill. If my doctor thinks I need a certain medication and I have the means to pay for it, that should be all they require. I do not have a problem with parental approval being required. Since we’re close to this anyway… I vehemently disagree with insurance companies that will cover viagra but not birth control. I also feel your morals should never be compromised by your work (and have quit a job for asking me to do something I did not believe was right) BUT agree that one should consider the potential conflicts when choosing a career.

    shannon

    March 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    • Thanks, Shannon. Those are my sentiments exactly.

      Greg

      March 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

  3. […] Refusing to Fill Prescriptions (unitedstatesofhypocrisy.wordpress.com) […]

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