April 7, 2005

Here's a business to avoid

As part of a larger efforts by anti-abortion fundamentalists to further interfere with a woman's medical care, a Rock Island pharmacist is planning to defy Gov. Blagojevich's recent order that all pharmacies fill prescriptions for their patients.
[Jim] Perry, an evangelical Christian, owns District Drugs. He said he plans to defy the order.

"I have no problem offering birth-control pills or other contraceptives," he said. "But I'm not going to offer this drug. [The so-called "morning after" pill]Ordering me to do this would be like ordering all doctors to perform abortions. You just can't expect pharmacists to do this."
The hell you can't. The "morning after" pill is the same chemically as common birth control pills, but at a higher dosage.

Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, said a pharmacy's license could be revoked if it already offers oral contraceptives but won't dispense the same drug at higher dosages for what is commonly called the "morning-after pill."

Steve Tormbley, CEO of Planned Parenthood-Chicago, said his organization would fight legislative moves to allow pharmacies to opt not to fill such prescriptions.

"When a pharmacist puts on a lab coat and goes behind a counter, there is an obligation to provide medicine that is prescribed," he said. To not do so would be interfering with the relationship between a patient and her physician, he added.

"I'm getting calls from pharmacists from all over the country who say, 'I didn't get into this profession to kill babies,' " said Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life.

She contends Gov. Blagojevich's action is illegal because Illinois law already allows health-care providers to opt not to do procedures their consciences object to. The statute specifically covers physicians and nurses, and the Illinois Pharmacist Association contends the broader language in the law also covers pharmacists.

"The problem is the governor can't read. And he is going to get sued over this. And he is going to be embarrassed -- all because he can't read," Ms. Brauer said.
This Brauer woman is a real piece of work. She manages to be the go-to source in favor of pharmacists refusing to perform their duties in almost every story on the subject. Read more on Brauer and her organization "Pharmacists for Life" here.

Perhaps Mr. Perry should change the name of his business to "Phrendly Phundamentalist Pharmacy".


At 4/07/2005 9:03 AM, Anonymous puzzler said...

Since when is the government allowed to dictate to a business owner what products the owner must stock? A pharmacist should have the right to choose not to stock and dispense a certain drug for whatever reason. I once presented a prescription for a narcotic and was told that the small pharmacy chose not to stock the drug becuase stocking that particular class of drug would increase their insurance costs. Should I have become outraged and demanded that they stock the drug? If a pharmacy doesn't stock the drug you want, take your business elsewhere.

At 4/07/2005 9:37 AM, Anonymous captain said...

just change pharmicies if you don't like how they run their business. if I went to a catholic pharmisist who was agaisnt birth control would he not carry birth control? bet he would.

At 4/07/2005 11:12 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Puzzler, your last sentence agrees completely with the headline of my post. I agree. Go somewhere else.

I also don't think your example applies in this instance. One has to do with business costs. The place doesn't carry a class of drugs because it would adversely impact their finances. This issue is about people refusing to simply count out and deliver a lawfully prescribed drug due to their personal beliefs. It's not as though they are losing money in the deal.

Once you open this door, it can lead to chaos. Just imagine all the times nurses or doctors could just say they don't agree with this or that. This is not the way to go.

Also, how are these pharmacists that are suddenly just now finding their consciences won't allow them to serve certain customers going to know if, say, they're prescribing a drug to prevent infection after a woman has had an abortion? What if they refuse to prescribe drugs to a person who is divorced because they're a Catholic and they're morally opposed?
And this guy in R.I. readily prescribes birth control pills, but not morning after pills? I think he's a bit confused.
This is simply grand-standing by those that wish to impose their beliefs on others. They are suddenly discovering their consciences simply so they can practice passive resistance as a protest against something they don't agree with.
As I said, this could potentially open a Pandora's box of problems down the road, with people using the moral excuse to not perform any number of medical proceedures.

I think this is akin to a fireman refusing to fight a fire at a planned parenthood building, or a bar because they're morally opposed. There are certain professions in society that need to have a code that requires them to serve EVERYONE that legally requires their services.
Personally, I wouldn't buy so much as a bottle of asprin from a place that discriminates against certain people because of differing beliefs.

At 4/07/2005 1:30 PM, Blogger Retro Girl said...

No argument here. Your post was dead on!

At 4/07/2005 3:00 PM, Anonymous puzzler said...

Don't Catholic hospitals refuse to perform sterilization procedures? These prcedures are legal and are not performed at these facilities purely for religious reasons. How does this differ from a pharmacist who refuses to fill a prescription for a legal drug on religious grounds?

At 4/09/2005 6:41 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Yet another person willing to risk it all for the cause of just one right wing fundamentalist cause - at the expense of bad press and loss of business. I for one will not step foot inside the door of district drugs ever again - even if I am in dire need of a diet coke! What a funnel vision this guy must have.

Breaking our laws aside -- I guess he can do business with or not with anyone he likes. If he wants to be successful in business however, he may want to go back to Business Class 101 that teaches the student "the customer is always right" not "the owner has the right to push his ideals onto his potential customers".

Wow, just when we got a nice business downtown too.......

At 4/12/2005 4:38 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Puzzler, sorry for replying so late... but.. as to your question, there again, we're talking apples and oranges. I would wish that Catholic sponsored hospitals would offer all legal proceedures, but as you know, they sometimes don't on moral grounds.

But that differs from the pharmacists as far as time sensitivity.

Sterilization is an elective surgery. It can be scheduled at any time, and the patient's health is not seriously threatened as long as he or she isn't sterilized.

Contrast that with the reported case in which a 47 year old woman with 5 children was concerned after sex with her husband that a pregnancy might result, and so she went to her doctor and got a prescription for the morning after pill to avoid having yet another child that they neither wanted nor could afford.

This woman then went to a pharmacy in a rush in order to quickly take the medicine and thus avoid this pregnancy, only to find that the pharmacist not only refused to fill the prescription, but refused to transfer it to another pharmacy!!

The clock is ticking here. And this is not some unimportant matter to this woman and her husband. It is NOT the time to refuse care because of your particular religious beliefs!
It's an outrage.

If that pharmacist wanted to go door to door and try to convince people that using contrceptives are immoral, then I'd defend their right to do so (though they better not come to my house while I'm busy)
But you DON'T put someone's health in jeopardy when they're in danger and have a legally prescribed prescription! That is NOT the time to make your little statement.

If you want to change people's views on things, harrassing and endangering people in need from behind a pharmacy counter is NOT the way to do it.


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