Friday, January 21, 2011
Find Another Profession
Idaho Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Mark Johnston confirmed that the board received the complaint alleging that on Nov. 6, a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription ordered by one of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s Boise-based nurse practitioners.
The prescription was for a Planned Parenthood patient for Methergine, a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion.
“Methergine is not an abortifacient and it serves multiple purposes in postpartum care,” the practitioner wrote in her complaint. “I believe the pharmacist wrongly applied the conscience protections....
Planned Parenthood officials said in the complaint that the pharmacist inquired if the patient needed the drug for post-abortion care. The nurse refused to answer the question based on confidentiality of health information.
According to Planned Parenthood, the pharmacist then stated that if the nurse practitioner did not disclose that information, she would not fill the prescription. The nurse alleged that the pharmacist hung up when asked for a referral to another pharmacy that would fill the prescription.
That is the problem with these so-called conscious laws. One, the pharmacist is making an assumption about medical care that the pharmacist isn't entitled to know, and two, the pharmacist is setting herself up as knowing what's better for the patient than the patient's doctors. That is inexcusable.
Pharmacists do have a very important role to play, in spotting possible harmful interactions between different drugs, expecially if the doctor is unaware of other medication the patient might be on, but in those cases the pharmacist consults with the doctor to confirm the prescription.
Extending this concept of pharmacist conscious laws to the absurd (where the weakness or strength of a law is often found), would a pharmacist who happens to be a racist be legally protected if he denied a lifesaving drug to a minority patient, because his conscious dictates that he shouldn't assist mudpeople?
Bottom line, as on the top: If your conscious prevents you from doing your job, its time to find another line of work.