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    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Freedom of Choice: The Christian Medical Association responds to the AMA's position on pharmacists, their consciences, and abortifacients:

    There is simply no reason to trample over the consciences of pharmacists to fill these prescriptions. This is often framed as a matter of patient rights and access to healthcare when it in fact is an issue of patient convenience. Patient convenience is a good goal, but it cannot trump fundamental rights of conscience. It is clear that abortion advocates will not tolerate anyone who opposes their doctrine. It is ironic that while they appeal to principles of freedom of choice, abortion advocates are willing to eliminate the choice of those who hold opposing views.

    'What we are seeing in this country is a wholesale movement to deny healthcare professionals the right to follow their own consciences, especially in matters regarding reproduction. Mandating abortion training for New York City residents in training, forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions that violate their consciences, and requiring faith-based organizations to violate their religious teachings are not only morally objectionable, they violate our constitutional freedoms of speech and religion.

    That's true about abortion rights activisits. The only choice they approve is the choice they would chose for us.

    UPDATE: A pharmacist responds and brings up an important point about the right to refuse to fill a prescription - what if the pharmacist knows the prescription is likely to do more harm than good?

    As a pharmacist by training, I am strongly in favor of a pharmacist havingthe right to refuse to fill any prescription for any reason. While inpractice, I only did so once. The Dr. had prescribed 15 mg of amphetamine, 195 mg of thyroid, and a high dose of aloin (laxative) to be taken tid. Picture the patient on the toilet at 3 AM with her heart racing and eyes bulging. I couldn't reach the physician and the patient asked for the prescription back, with which I complied without saying why I had refused to fill it. Protect the doc you know, plus maybe he knew something that I didn't.

    A pharmacist does not have the right to refuse to fill the prescription and then refuse to return the prescription to the patient. I believe this is what one pharmacist in Wisconsin essentially did. In his case, he refused to refill the prescription or transfer it to another pharmacy. (Yes, the patient could go back to physician or call him or her for a new one. But why should the patient have to do that?)

    Apparently this also is becoming a problem with pain medications and

    The American Pharmacists Association's position is that pharmacists should
    be allowed to refuse to fill a prescription. If they do, however, it ought
    to be filled by someone else or transferred to another pharmacy.

    Pharmacists are often in a better position than the physician to know whether or not a patient is abusing pain medications or other controlled substances. They know, for instance, if someone has had 10 prescriptions for Oxycontin from 10 different doctors in the past month. Most of the time, when that happens, they alert the doctors involved - but what if the doctor - or doctors - give them the cold shoulder? (I've personally seen this happen more than once.) Shouldn't they be able to refuse to fill the narcotic?

    posted by Sydney on 7/09/2005 06:15:00 PM 2 comments


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