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November 10, 2004



So a pharmacist isn't allowed to have a conscience?


Well, a conscience is one thing, denying legal substances is another. Good grief.

The Cheat

I was a bartender for a little while a couple of years ago. I had to take a class about alcohol. It was mostly how to deal with drunks, when to say when, type of stuff. But there's one thing that will always stick with me. If a visibly pregnant woman were to ask for a drink, we were supposed to give it to her. It's her child, she knows the risks, she's chosing to ignore them. If you don't give her the alcohol, somebody else will.


A pharmacist can absolutely have a conscience, but a pharmacist's job is to fill prescriptions written by doctors for their patients. What if the Pill is prescribed for another reason other than contraception (which it very often is)? Who is the pharmacist to question a doctor's intentions or a patient's conscience?


Karen, sorry this comment is so long but here's why I am likewise aghast at this:
As I see it, a prescription is something a doctor writes as part of a treatment plan. If you allow pharmacists to countermand prescriptions because of their personal veiws (as "ethical objectors") I think you are allowing them to practice medicine without a license. Think of the precedents that are opened up.
First of all, if one pharmacist can do it legally, then all pharmacists in a certain area can (hypothetically) do the same thing, effectively denying the patient access to the drug.
Second, someone already pointed out that "the pill" is often prescribed for hormonal conditions including polycystic ovarian syndrome and hormonal acne, to cite 2 off the top of my head.
Third, what about other drugs that a pharmacist may consider immoral. Viagra, frex. The pharmacist has access to your records to know if you are married or single. The pharmacist may then deny Viagra to unmarried patients, since sex outside marriage is immoral, and inform the spouse of married patients to ensure that the patient doesn't use it for an affair.
How about anti-depressants? Some people think that depression is a sign that you need to find God, and by providing Prozac/whatever they are keeping you from that.
What about Ritalin? Some people think ADD/ADHD isn't a real diagnosis, and children simply need either more dicipline or more love (depending on what the pastor told them).
I could go on and on ...


Welcome to life in America, aka BushCo.

Jason, a pharmacist is certainly entitled to have a conscience. But if that conscience interferes with his or her ability to do the job, i.e., dispense the legal medication as prescribed by a physician, then that pharmacist needs to find another line of work. I hear there are openings at McDonald's...provided you don't have issues with the consumption of cheeseburgers.

I don't expect Orthodox Jews to sell me cheeseburgers...and I don't expect people whose consciences don't permit them to dispense legal contraceptive medication to work at my local pharmacy.

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