Friday, January 13, 2006

Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries

In case you missed this little news item today, let me recap it for you.

Susan Cox - a nurse practitioner in West Peoria, IL - has filed a complaint against a Walgreens pharmacist for violating a state rule requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception.

[Stephanie] Cox says in the complaint that the pharmacist told her the store did not carry Plan B and did not refer her to another pharmacy. Cox later called the pharmacies manager and was told the store did have Plan B in stock at the time it was requested, Cox says.

A spokeswoman at Walgreen's Deerfield headquarters said the company is looking into the matter.

This seems to be a recurring scenario at Walgreens in IL - 5 pharmacists from other IL stores have been suspended indefinitely for refusing to dispense the drugs on religious or moral grounds. This most recent occurrence goes farther than refusing to fill prescriptions, he lied to his customer. Lied.

Who do these pharmacists think they are? I thought only doctors were supposed to have God complexes. And why is this only happening to women? You think anyone ever said to a 70 year old man "Hey gramps, I think you're a little too old to be having sex. As a matter of fact, the whole idea of your wrinkly ass bouncing around while you're going at it with that 27 year old gold digger there on your arm makes me sick. And hey, guess what, y'all aren't married. I don't believe in sex before marriage so I refuse to fill your prescription for Viagra."

Hell no. That would never happen. Nah. But what happens when that 27 year old gold digger shows up the next day with a prescription in hand to get the morning after pill after a night of Viagra-infused passion?

Let's put this another way.

You're hungry and you're hungry for a big, juicy steak. You're whole body is craving it. Nothing can satisfy that craving but gorging yourself on a 20 oz porterhouse steak. Off to your favorite steakhouse for dinner!

You're seated at a nice corner table and the server comes up to take your order. You ask for your slab of beef and instead of asking you how you'd like it cooked, he says "I'm sorry, but I can't fill that order."

Thinking he didn't hear you, you repeat your request. "I understand, but I just can't fill that order. We're out of porterhouse. As a matter of fact, we're out of all of our steaks. Can I interest you in a nice veggie burger?"

Little do you know your server is a vegetarian. Not only is he a vegetarian, he's also the president of his local PETA chapter. Obviously, he find eating animals incredibly offensive; it goes against everything he believes in and stands for. It's an issue of morals for him.

Now, imagine that restaurant had your steak - it's fridges were FULL of steaks. Your server? He's the only guy in the place. Just imagine there's a rule in place that requires your server to refer to another establishment where your order can be filled. But he didn't do that. Not only did he refuse to serve to you and lie to you, he's not following the state rule.

How would that make you feel? Pissed? Offended? Definitely not shame - after all, who was he to judge you? Probably not hurt - who cares what kind of person he may think you are? He's just a crackpot server. You were just hungry. It's not like you have been grappling emotionally or physically with any sort of action that made you show up in the steakhouse in the first place. And hey, it's not like you have this tiny window of time to get yourself a steak dinner and if you were to miss that window, you could suffer huge repercussions that would change your life forever.

There is such a thing as a pharmacist Oath and Code of Ethics. Let me point out some highlights.

  • a pharmacist is dedicated to protecting the dignity of the patient

  • in all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients

  • a pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth

  • a pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise the dedication to the best interests of the patients

  • No where in the code of ethics does it say the pharmacist measures the dignity of their patients. No where does it say the pharmacist decides what level of respect a patient deserves. No where does it say the pharmacist knows the best interest of the patient.

    Goddess help the pharmacist that would ever refuse to fill my prescription.

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    At 1/13/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

    I've heard of this problem with person values interfering -- sometimes it's the personal values of the owner rather than the individual employee. Some pharmacies literally won't carry Plan B and some even refuse to fill birth control prescriptions.

    However, the analogy of a vegetarian steak-house server refusing to serve meat is a little silly. Though it is still a case of not fulfilling your job requirements -- and there's no way that you could be a server in a steak house and NOT serve meat! -- a pharmacist can fulfill his/her job most of the time without a problem. So, to me an occasional refusal isn't a major thing so long as a contingency plan is in place. I'm talking about an alternate pharmacist (most employ at least 2 in shifts) who isn't opposed or a posting of the policy and info as to where to go to have the prescription filled should a pharmacist refuse to give that info.

    Personally, I think pharmacies are too invasive as it is. I don't like that they track my prescriptions as it is, so I've started going to different ones every time I need one filled. They still want tons of info that seems invasive before they'll fill one though. And sometimes they don't even have what I need and inform me that they can get it within 48 hours. Duh! I need it now!

    At 1/15/2006 12:35 PM, Blogger A to the K said...

    Yes, my analogy to a vegetarian working at a steakhouse is silly. It was meant to be. I wanted to draw some sort of parallel that would illustrate how completey ridiculous I think this issue is.

    Why I can't dissagree with thought of a contingency plan (EVERY woman should have access to the medicine she needs) I can't condone it. It's their job to provide medicine to those requiring it.

    If I could only fulfill the requirements of my job "most of the time", I wouldn't have one. If I went to my boss and asked for a contigency plan to be put into place for someone else to do work requested of me because I'd CHOOSE not to do it, I'd get canned. If I were to occaisionally refuse to do a certain task, I wouldn't last the rest of the day.

    Why should a pharmacist have the right to do that? To put someone's well-being at risk? To put someone's emotional and physical health at risk? To make decisions for another human being? Isn't that a violation of my civil rights?

    At 6/28/2006 2:12 AM, Anonymous Paula said...

    "To put someone's well-being at risk? To put someone's emotional and physical health at risk? To make decisions for another human being? Isn't that a violation of my civil rights?"

    Well that's probably why such pharmacist who refuse to fill abortifcants refuse to fill such prescription. Because abortificants end life which is human. How much more risk to a human's well being can their be then forcing it to be removed from the only environment they can survive in? Isn't death to human life putting that human life's physcial health at risk? Isn't an abortificant that ends a human life making a decision for that human being? Isn't it a violation of that human life's civil rights? After all according to the Declaration there are certain truths, all are created equal and that have the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Notice that it says created, not born.

    Now before you get hot and bothered about this, just keep in mind that I am only commenting about this because you asked "Why".

    And I know you probably disagree that the human life that is only a few hours old is valuable, but isn't that forcing your opinion on the matter on the pharmacist? It isn't like there is a shortage of places to get such prescriptions filled. They are more easily found then places that won't fill such prescriptions. It's your prescription, take it to the next city, if you must.

    Why should the pharmacist be forced to play a part in your choice to end a human life when it goes against his moral beliefs? He is not forcing you to not go elsewhere. Why should he be forced to help you in any way, even by referring you to the place down the road? It's his right to say "no".

    If you don't believe a pharmacist should have a right to say no to filling an abortificant prescription...then don't become a pharmacist.

    p.s. happened to find this page by doing a keyword search which brought up your blog. Please read this in the manner of which it was intended, with complete Good Will. I write it as a former lied-to woman in hopes that maybe it strikes a chord with you as happened to me by other people in my past. Thank you for an open heart to the Truth, if you choose to have one.

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    At 4/29/2009 5:31 PM, Anonymous Future Pharmacist said...

    I am a future pharmacist and am very disappointed to read Teresa's comments about pharmacies being invasive and her going to multiple pharmacies. Here is some truth on the topic... One of the top 10 causes of death is adverse drug events. The major thing that happens is people take drugs that interact with each other and make the person very sick or even die. People go to different doctors for different reasons. Each doctor is unaware of what medications the other doctors are prescribing. To protect the patient, pharmacies keep a 7 year record of all the drugs a patient takes so they can check for drug interactions and prevent those adverse events from occurring. Now if you don't tell the pharmacy what you are taking, how can you expect them to protect you?!? And if you fill one prescription at Pharmacy A and the next at Pharmacy B, they don't have records of what you got from the first pharmacy and again can't protect you from possible interactions. Another point, doctors only take ONE single class on drugs, pharmacists take FOUR YEARS worth of drug courses. We are the medication experts and are your best defense against adverse reactions. So please keep these things in mind when you say that a pharmacy is being invasive and that you want to hide things from them by hopping around to different pharmacies. You are only going to put yourself at a much higher risk of something bad happening. Also, pharmacies carry drugs that the patients they have typically need, so if you stick to one pharmacy you will have a much better chance of them having your drug in stock. And try not to get upset when they have to order something for you, often times it's the larger drug companies that they order from that put the drugs on back order and are unable to fill the pharmacy's orders on time. I have taken the Oath of a Pharmacist and dedicate my life to serving patients in the best way I can. We only collect the information needed and we store it in the most protected manner possible.

    About the original posting of the IL pharmacist. That is only one incident among the mass amount of those prescriptions filled across the country. The majority of pharmacists are going to follow the laws to refer the patient if religious views influence their personal decisions. The actions of those few who break the rules should not be reflective of the profession of pharmacy as a whole. As a whole, we are patient advocates who want nothing more than to help those patients attain the best possible care. Thank you for your time.

    At 6/19/2012 1:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I promise to keep my Rosaries (if any) Off Your Ovaries, if you keep your GASH OFF MY CASH. Spend your own damn money on your personal life.


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