The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

More Pharmacists Refuse to Give Emergency Contraceptives

by Catherine Komp

Aug. 18, 2006 – Health care providers in New York have filed complaints against two pharmacies for refusing to fill prescriptions for Plan B emergency contraception, commonly know as “ECâ€� or “the morning after pill.â€�

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The complaints, by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) acting on behalf of Planned Parenthood employees in the Mohawk-Hudson region, allege that pharmacists at CVS and Rite Aid stores violated state laws in 2005 and 2006 when they refused to refill prescriptions for the drug.

The pharmacists had dispensed the initial EC prescriptions, but refused to provide refills to the patients despite orders to do so from the health care professionals.

“Because the effectiveness of EC in preventing pregnancy decreases as time passes,� wrote the NYCLU in a letter to the New York State Office of Professions, “writing prescriptions for EC with refills is the standard of care, and is necessary so that women have access to EC as soon as they need it. The pharmacists offered judgmental – not medical – objections in support of their refusals.�

The complaint asks the state to discipline the pharmacists on the grounds that their actions violated New York State pharmacy laws and “lacked medical justification and therefore exceeded pharmacists’ scope of authority.� It also alleges the employees violated laws prohibiting sex discrimination in public accommodations and breached the pharmacist’s duty of care to the patient.

Mike DeAngelis, a spokesperson for CVS, told The Saratogian that company policy “is to dispense all legally prescribed medications.�

The incidents in New York follow similar cases in other states, as previously reported by The NewStandard, including Missouri, Arizona and New Hampshire.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

This News Brief originally appeared in the August 18, 2006 edition of The NewStandard.
Catherine Komp is a contributing journalist.

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