Tuesday, November 29, 2005

WALGREENS SUSPENDS PHARMACISTS OVER 'PLAN B'

To which we say: Way to go, Walgreens. KSDK tells the story this way:
Walgreens put four Illinois pharmacists on unpaid leave Monday for refusing to fill prescriptions for the "morning after pill."

The pharmacists say they're standing up for their beliefs. Walgreens says they're violating state law.

The "morning after pill" is also called Plan B. It is often prescribed to prevent or terminate pregnancy.

But pharmacist John Menges says it is the one prescription he won't fill. "I can advise people what pharmacies to go to. I mean, I can help them in every way. But I can't actually fill them because of my religious belief."

For this reason, Walgreens has put Menges and three other pharmacists on indefinite unpaid leave.

One of them asked that we hide his identity since he'll soon be searching for a new job. "I'm not imposing my beliefs on someone else, I'm telling them I choose not to participate in what they're going to do. Now that's not imposing my will on them, it's just saying leave me out of this. On the other hand, they're telling me I have to do this, so they're imposing their will on me."

Illinois has a new law relating to this type of emergency contraceptive. It says that pharmacies must fill these prescriptions and in a timely manner.

Walgreens says this law is forcing them to take drastic action. Spokesman Michael Polzin says, "If a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription in Illinois, they are putting the pharmacy's license at risk, as well as the pharmacist in charge at that store."
A pharmacist has the responsibility to ensure that the patient's health comes first, according to the SIUE College of Pharmacy. If someone feels they can't dispense meds prescribed by a physician, they shouldn't be a pharmacist. Pretty simple solution, no?

Menges says "my faith and my religion" are more important than a job at Walgreens. We hope he sticks to his guns, because Walgreens has offered him a job at another of its pharmacies. This one's in Missouri.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"A pharmacist has the responsibility to ensure that the patient's health comes first, according to the SIUE College of Pharmacy. If someone feels they can't dispense meds prescribed by a physician, they shouldn't be a pharmacist. Pretty simple solution, no?"

How much of Plan B is actually about health? Plan B seems to be much more about convenience. Next(and probably already have elsewhere) you'll be arguing that hospitals with religious affiliations MUST allow abortions to be performed on their premises or by their employees.

BUT if Walgreens decideds there are no problems dispensing Plan B or ANY other perscriptions, Walgreens needs to hire people who have no problems dispensing everything in the inventory.

Bryan said...

Whoa, "Anonymous". Two different things going in your "arguement" here. You compare a surgical procedure that a doctor performs as equivalent to a pharmacist dispensing a medication that a licensed physician has said the patient needs? Where's the logic in that?

A pharmacist has taken an oath to correctly dispense meds that doctors have deemed necessary for the health of a patient. He does not have the medical background to decide if the meds are appropriate nor does he have any background information about why these meds were prescribed. If he/she cannot perform the job that they signed up to do... they shouldn't be doing it.

What's next? Telling a parent that they can't have their child's script for ADD/ADHD meds because the pharmacist is a Scientologist and does not believe in mind-altering meds?

Anonymous said...

You still haven't mentioned anyhting about Plan B being necessary to the health of a patient. Make ONE argument.

The only health argument to be made for that medication( That I can see anyway) is what the medication was designed for, a cancer treatment.

Plan B is all about convinence. Not health.

Anonymous said...

It seems I've confused Plan B with RU486 ( The other morning after pill, which which was designed as a cancer medication)

According to the official web site ( www.go2planb.com ) : "Plan B is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization (by altering tubal transport of sperm and/or ova). In addition, it may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium. Plan B is not effective if a woman is pregnant. Plan B is a contraceptive and cannot terminate an established pregnancy."

The website claims the it would not terminate an "established pregnancy" or harm a devoloping fetus.

So my abortion parralel from earlier would be in error in this case.

But, I still don't see a health argument, it still looks like simple convienience...

Bryan said...

Convience it may be... but you and the pharmacist do not have the right to make that decision.

The doctor and the patient are. And my child's ADD meds are what you would consider "convienient" since they aren't necessarily required for him to live and go to school, but it sure does make him a productive citizen.

Once again... would you allow a pharmacist to not fill my child's script because they object to the use of Mind Altering Drugs?

Seems awfully convienient for you to get to pick an choose which "un-necessary" drugs get to be handed out.

Anonymous said...

"Seems awfully convienient for you to get to pick an choose which "un-necessary" drugs get to be handed out."

I'm not a pharmacist, so I don't pick.

Just trying to get any argument other than "A doctor prescribed it" for Plan B and Health, since "health" seems to be the favored buzz word in this topic.

But, if I were a pharmacist, and felt that mind altering medication was being unnecissarily over prescribed ... an argument COULD be made for refusing to dispense the script.

Are pharmacists supposed to blindly fill any prescription handed to them? Doctors, on occasion prescribe multiple medications to patients. Sometimes the combinations can be deadly, and it's up to the pharmasist to help point that out to the patient. Maybe even refuse to dispense a medication that could be deadly in combination with something else...