Right to refuse to fill Perscriptions

Ping898

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I was wondering what people thought about Pharmacists refusing to fill birth control and other pregnancy prevention related presciptions, especially since it seems to be happening more and more frequently.

This is the latest article on it that I found today:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/10/12/contraceptive.complaint.ap/index.html
MADISON, Wisconsin. (AP) -- A former pharmacist said Monday he refused to fill a college student's prescription for birth control pills or transfer it to another pharmacy because he did not want to commit a sin.

Neil Noesen, 30, testifying before a judge at a disciplinary hearing, could face a reprimand or loss of his pharmacist's license for refusing to help Amanda Phiede obtain her pills.

"I could have trouble sleeping at night. I could be suffering the worst kind of pain. Spiritual pain," Noesen told an administrative law judge.

The state Department of Regulation and Licensing accuses Noesen of unprofessional conduct for not transferring Phiede's prescription.

"The additional risk of pregnancy should not have been imposed on her by someone else," said John Zwieg, a lawyer for the department.

Noesen's attorney, Krystal Williams-Oby, said Noesen broke no laws. She described him as a devout Roman Catholic and said any punishment would violate his constitutional right to religious expression.

According to the complaint, Noesen was an independent pharmacist filling in at a Kmart pharmacy in Menomonie in July 2002 when Phiede, then a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, asked to renew her birth control prescription.

Noesen, the only pharmacist on duty at the store at the time, asked if the prescription would be used for contraception, then refused to refill it when she said it would. "I just wanted to get my pills and go home," Phiede said.

Noesen also refused a Wal-Mart pharmacist's request to transfer the prescription, she said.

Phiede returned to Kmart the next day with police, she said, and the store manager called Ken Jordanby, the pharmacy director who was out of town. Jordanby filled her prescription when he returned the following day.

In his testimony, Noesen talked about God's law and accused Zwieg of harassing him.

"It's good for a person to be persecuted," he said when asked by his lawyer how the proceedings have affected him. "Really, it helps you grow in your faith."

The hearing was expected to conclude Tuesday. The judge will make a recommendation to the examining board on what punishment, if any, Noesen should receive.
 

loki09789

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What does the Wal Mart Pharmacist job description specify and did the Pharmacist's refusal mean he was refusing to do his job? If he is basically refusing to do the job he agreed to upon hiring, he needs to find another job. Or, work at a pharmacy where there is more than one on at a time so that he can pass off the scripts that offend his principles - but good luck getting a job with a history of refusal to serve your customer base.
 

Nightingale

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someone who doesn't want to dispense the prescriptions he receives should not be a pharmacist.
 

Flatlander

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Me too. He has a duty to fill the order as prescribed by a doctor. He is not there to impose his will upon others, rather, he is there to fill prescriptions.

Noesen's attorney, Krystal Williams-Oby, said Noesen broke no laws. She described him as a devout Roman Catholic and said any punishment would violate his constitutional right to religious expression.
I'm not certain how American Constitutional Law deals with this, but in Canada the caveat of entitlement to a right as long as you do not infringe on another's rights is added. In this case, he has infringed upon a young woman's right to medical treatment - (well, OK, a prescription), however, that is still her right.
 
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Spud

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I'll go against the grain on this one. A pharmacist is a state licensed professional with an advanced degree and professional liability. They are not supposed to be pill-counting technicians blindly filling whatever prescription is presented at the counter. He made a decision based upon his ethics and stuck by it. I don't see how the pharmacy board could take action against him - unless there are specific provisions in state law requiring him to fill any prescriptions without prejudice.

That being said, the store would be within their rights to terminate him - he chose to put his personal values above customer service. That's his choice and there are consequences. I find his actions offensive and his martyr posture somewhat obnoxious - but not anything that would jeopardize his license. His job yes, but not his license.
 

Kenpodoc

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A pharmacist has the right to refuse to fill an Rx. What if it was an Rx for 1000 oxycontin 80mg. What he did not have a right to do was to refuse to transfer the script to another pharmacy. He also had an ethical obligation to not take the job at a K Mart where he would get BCP Rxs. As a religious expression he had every right to open his own private pharmacy and refuse to dispense Birth control. I've worked with physicians who refuse to write for Birth Control but they have always been up front with their opinions and they've always been willing to transfer the patient to a physician who would consider Birth Control.

Jeff
 
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Spud

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I re-read that. :blush: His refusal to accomodate the prescription transfer to another pharmacy should put him at odds with a licensing board. Probably also an infrigment on commerce. Like kenpodoc pointed out that is a significant failure in his professional actions.

The board should take action against him IMHO.
 
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Ping898

Ping898

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My thoughts on this are that unless it is posted in the store that the policy is some or all of the pharmistists may refuse to fill specific prescriptions that every prescription should have to be filled. First I got to imagine it is embarassing if others are around and they hear the person refuse to fill your prescription. Plus you have no idea how hard it was for someone to arrange transportation to get to the pharmacy, and in some towns there is only one pharmacy and the next closest one is like 30 or 50 miles away. Also if asked they should transfer the presciption to some other place. I also have a problem with it cause in this day and age few drugs are used for only one thing. For all the pharmacist knows the person with the prescription is chaste and needs the birth control pills to help with acne.
 
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Mark Weiser

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I being a nurse find this kind of thinking extremely dangerous. You can not use your own personal religious views to force those views upon others. This is just another tactic by certain Christian Sects for evangelism.

I personally hope he is found guilty under the State Board of Licensure that he or she is currently under and has it pulled or revoked.
 
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rmcrobertson

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The point raised was a very good one: whose axe is he grinding? Didn't this ever come up before?

While of course I respect his personal beliefs, I'd also say that it's pretty annoying that this guy was willing to take the money for working in a public institutions, but didn't want to accept the public.
 

Bob Hubbard

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Were the pills legal?
Yes?
Then fire him, and point him at the nearest McD.
It's not his place to refuse to fill a legal perscription issued by a licenced physician based on his own religious beliefs.
 

Kenpodoc

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Kaith Rustaz said:
Were the pills legal?
Yes?
Then fire him, and point him at the nearest McD.
It's not his place to refuse to fill a legal perscription issued by a licenced physician based on his own religious beliefs.
This guy needs to be fired by K Mart for not doing his job. He should be at the very least placed on probation by the state pharmacy board for refusing to transfer the prescription. He should be generally criticized for not respecting the other persons religious freedom while protesting that others respect his.

Pharmacists still need to be able to refuse to fill prescriptions that they feel are potentially dangerous. It is part of the checks and balances of the system and while occasionally inconvenient or annoying is a good part of our medical system. This is one reason why Pharmacists should not be prescribing .

Jeff
 

Phoenix44

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This is professional misconduct. He's exerting undue influence on a patient, and by refusing to transfer a prescription, he's abandoning a patient.
 

Xequat

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If he paid any attention in pharmacy school, he'd know that there would be birth control prescriptions to fill, so why did he take the job? I mean, that's like being a Hindu, taking a job at McDonald's, and then refusing to sell cheeseburgers because they are made from cows. And now this guy's acting like he's the victim, when he knew what he was getting into before his first day on the job.
 
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Baytor

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If he is worried about violating his faith because of the job he's doing, perhaps he should look into a field that wouldn't cause him a conflict of interests.
 
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raedyn

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I would be very upset if someone refused to fill my persrciption because of their own 'moral' reasons. However, I have a major issue with the idea of forcing someone to do something they cannot accept. At the end of the day, though, that woman has a right to get her perscription filled. So I think he should be obligated to transfer the order to another pharmacy. And I think it's reasonable for the employer to be able to discipline him. Not for his religion, but for not being able to fufill all his duties.
 
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Mark Weiser

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Being a Nurse being in the same field sort of speak and being a supervisor. If I was to tell my employeer that I would not do a paticular task due to my religious beliefs and that task was a necessity to maintain life such as giving an injection or giving a pill or a breathing treatment, etc....

I would first be fired due to resident neligence and abuse. Second I would have a case turned into the State Board of Nursing for investigation. Third the DA would become involved if any harm came to the client due to my refusal to comply with the Resident's plan of care.

Your moral or religious code should never put another at risk of life or limb. Or should you enforce your own moral code upon another person by any other means by means of forcing another into your way of thinking.

This gentleman was taught that he could and should commit this act by leadership of his church either directly or indirectly. I suggest Professional Counseling and a new line of work.
 

kenpo tiger

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He going to take full responsibility when this young woman becomes pregnant with a possibly unwanted (by her) child and assume the medical costs associated with pregnancy and post-partum? How about pediatrician bills? College? If he's assuming responsibility for this young woman's morals, then in my eyes he's assuming the risks he's making her take.

Okay - unemotional response. Fire the bum. Not doing his job.

Where do these people come off telling everyone what to do based upon their beliefs? How dare they assume that their way is the only and correct way?
 

Xequat

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kenpo tiger said:
Where do these people come off telling everyone what to do based upon their beliefs? How dare they assume that their way is the only and correct way?
Yep, I'll second that. It's the same with Muslim vs. Jew, right vs. left, Republican vs. Democrat. It's pretty annoying and arrogant; that's why I try (although I don't always succeed) to stay in the middle and look for compromising ideas without compromising morals.
 
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