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Walgreens Disciplines Pharmacists
CBS ^

Posted on 11/30/2005 7:18:46 PM PST by Tzimisce

(AP) Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain by revenue, said it has put four Illinois pharmacists in the St. Louis area on unpaid leave for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception in violation of a state rule.

The four cited religious or moral objections to filling prescriptions for the morning-after pill and "have said they would like to maintain their right to refuse to dispense, and in Illinois that is not an option," Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said.

A rule imposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April requires Illinois pharmacies that sell contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control. Pharmacies that do not fill prescriptions for any type of contraception are not required to follow the rule.

Ed Martin, an attorney for the pharmacists, on Tuesday called the discipline "pretty disturbing" and said they would consider legal action if Walgreen doesn't reconsider.

(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Missouri
KEYWORDS: abortion; conscienceclause; freedomofconscience; heroes; itsabbouttime; martyrs; pharmacy; walgreens; yourefired
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So a business/government CAN force it's religion on us. Kind of puts this whole Christmas Tree/Intelligent Design thing in a new light eh?

Wonder what the left will say when companies decide to begin their work days with a prayer meeting.

1 posted on 11/30/2005 7:18:47 PM PST by Tzimisce
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To: Tzimisce

If they want to relocate to my area, I will be devoted to their services for the rest of my life. I mean that! Good for them.


2 posted on 11/30/2005 7:21:15 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy. Ps 99:5)
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To: Tzimisce

A church is allowed to discriminate against your religion, that's established law. Walgreens ISN'T. The state ISN'T.

Hope they sue.


3 posted on 11/30/2005 7:22:54 PM PST by SteveMcKing ("No empire collapses because of technical reasons. They collapse because they are unnatural.")
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To: Tzimisce
>> in Illinois that is not an option," Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said.

In that case, in Illinois, shopping at Walgreen's is no longer an option.

4 posted on 11/30/2005 7:28:47 PM PST by T'wit (Congress should call in Big Oil execs and thank them profusely for gas prices falling like a stone.)
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To: Tzimisce
>> in Illinois that is not an option," Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said.

In that case, in Illinois, shopping at Walgreen's is no longer an option.

5 posted on 11/30/2005 7:29:06 PM PST by T'wit (Congress should call in Big Oil execs and thank them profusely for gas prices falling like a stone.)
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To: Tzimisce
A rule imposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April requires Illinois pharmacies that sell contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control.

The new meaning of captitalism. "Do what the government commands no matter whether it is YOUR own business or not. And to think that there are people who thought owning and dispensing their own business was a mark of true capitalism.

6 posted on 11/30/2005 7:40:46 PM PST by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: Tzimisce
I'm sick of seeing walgreens popping up on every corner anyway. Is there that much need for discount suntan lotion?
7 posted on 11/30/2005 7:47:35 PM PST by Mulch (tm)
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To: T'wit

Ditto: In that case, in Illinois,and my NEW YORK, shopping at Walgreen's is no longer an option.


8 posted on 11/30/2005 7:54:14 PM PST by victim soul
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To: Tzimisce

This is PC taken to the extreme.

Government has moved from prohibitive regulation of business (you shall not sell) to affirmative regulation (you must sell). This presents us with a big change in the relationship of the citizen to his government, a change that will be destructive of liberty. A change that must be repealed or only bad things will occur.

On the same theory, what else will government soon be force stores to sell? If a pharmacy carries sexual material such as condoms, must it also carry a complete line including items for sexual activity that store management or employees would find offends personal beliefs? (lest it discriminate against any "orientation")

Now of course, the advocates of this type of regulation would never, never allow it to be used, for example, to force stores to sell firearms, even though this is a right that is really found in the text of the Constitution and not just recently discovered in its penumbra.



9 posted on 11/30/2005 8:02:35 PM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: Tzimisce

EMERGENCY???? It's an EMERGENCY that these people have sex?


10 posted on 11/30/2005 8:04:17 PM PST by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys-Reagan and Bush)
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To: T'wit; SteveMcKing

This was posted yesterday.

Walgreens has to follow state law otherwise it risks lawsuits, fines, and losing pharmacy licenses.

Walgreens has offered the four disciplined employees jobs in missouri, where they don't have such a law.


11 posted on 11/30/2005 8:20:15 PM PST by flashbunny (To err is human. But to really screw something up, have the government try to fix it.)
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To: Tzimisce

Aside from the government involvement angle, I have a strange idea: If you don't want to dispense this stuff, then don't apply for a job at at a place that expects you to do it.

It's like a Jew getting a job at a pig slaughterhouse and then complaining about the non-kosher environment.


12 posted on 11/30/2005 8:20:39 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: victim soul

see post 11.

They had to do this or face big problems.

They also went out of their way and offered those pharmacists employment in other states where they don't have such an idiotic law.


13 posted on 11/30/2005 8:22:29 PM PST by flashbunny (To err is human. But to really screw something up, have the government try to fix it.)
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To: Tzimisce

I don't shop at Walgreens anymore -- I used to be a regular there -- ever since their blantant promotion of homosexuality. This is just one more reason to avoid them like the plague. They don't feel pain their conscience anymore, so hurt them in their pocket-book instead. Tell your friends.


14 posted on 11/30/2005 8:29:16 PM PST by so_real ("The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.")
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I'm sorry but I must disagree with most who've posted. A pharmacist's job is to dispence prescribed drugs, NOT to impose his/her beliefs on you.


15 posted on 11/30/2005 8:31:13 PM PST by Stump
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To: Stump
A pharmacist's job is to dispence prescribed drugs, NOT to impose his/her beliefs on you.

While you oppose the pharmacist imposing his/her beliefs on you, you have absolutely no problem imposing your beliefs on him/her.

16 posted on 11/30/2005 8:40:15 PM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Onelifetogive

But no one is requiring the pharmacists to use these drugs.

They chose a profession where they are given the privilege to dispense drugs which are regulated by the federal government. Apparently the state of Illinois has passed a law requiring those enjoying that privilege to also have the duty of honoring any legal prescription. I think it is perfectly sensible. If they don't like it, they can work to have the law changed, move to a jurisdiction without such a law, or move into a different profession.

I'm sorry, but I think the pharmacists are wrong here.


17 posted on 11/30/2005 8:53:53 PM PST by Air Force Brat
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To: Onelifetogive
While you oppose the pharmacist imposing his/her beliefs on you, you have absolutely no problem imposing your beliefs on him/her.

Nonsense. These pharmacists are in the business of filling prescriptions. If filling some of them causes them difficulty, they should find another job, or go to a pharmacy that doesn't have these drugs in house.

Does it bother them that most drugstores sell condoms over the counter?

Do your job, or find another.

18 posted on 11/30/2005 8:59:45 PM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: Stump
You might want to re-consider that narrow job description. Some pharmacists take their professional oath seriously.
19 posted on 11/30/2005 9:05:17 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Tzimisce

This prescription is not a contraceptive. It is an abortificent.


20 posted on 11/30/2005 9:08:51 PM PST by TFMcGuire
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To: so_real
ever since their blantant promotion of homosexuality.

Please forgive my ignorance... how are they promoting homosexuality and what is their success rate?

21 posted on 11/30/2005 9:15:45 PM PST by realist4ever
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To: sinkspur; Air Force Brat
Nonsense. These pharmacists are in the business of filling prescriptions.

A vending machine could do that. A pharmacist is required by law to "inform and counsel" patients on medicines. A pharmacist who cannot in good conscience fill a prescription, must NOT fill the prescription. Have you ever wondered why there are pharmacists when a vending machine for drugs would be much cheaper and would do EXACTLY what YOU think is a pharmacist's job?

22 posted on 11/30/2005 9:28:41 PM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Onelifetogive
A vending machine could do that

No, it couldn't. There are laws governing the dispensing of medicines, and machines are not an approved method.

A pharmacist is required by law to "inform and counsel" patients on medicines. A pharmacist who cannot in good conscience fill a prescription, must NOT fill the prescription.

Actually, informing and counseling is the job of the doctor, who is, after all, the one who has made the diagnosis and is prescribing the drug.

A pharmacist who cannot fill a prescription should start his own pharmacy or go to work in a state that allows these conscience refusals.

Do your job, or find another.

23 posted on 11/30/2005 9:38:40 PM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: Onelifetogive

What if the store where you did business hired a pharmacist who felt AIDS was God's way of punishing immoral people and refused to fill prescriptions for AIDS medications?

...And you had a good friend who was a hemophiliac who unfortunately had been infected through a transfusion. Of course the pharmacist knows nothing of these facts, and assumes your friend is a licentious person who deserves all he has coming to him.

Would you defend the pharmacist then?

What if your friend died?

Then?

I realize this is an extreme example, but I am surprised anyone would defend pharmacists who are violating the public trust by inserting their own opinions into private medical decisions made by a patient and her doctor. It's inappropriate, in my opinion.


24 posted on 11/30/2005 9:51:53 PM PST by Air Force Brat
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To: sinkspur

Amen! (whoops! I meant to say "secular agreement to you."

Umm.... If you don't like killing cows, don't work at the stockyards, and if you have a problem dispensing certain drugs, don't be a pharmacist.


25 posted on 11/30/2005 10:03:49 PM PST by Solemar (a/k/a Larry the Lounge Lizard)
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To: realist4ever
Walgreens Gives $100,000 in Support of Gay Games

It's Walgreens' money. They can do with it as they please. From their point of view, this contribution is "... advocating HIV/AIDS awareness". In my opinion, sponsoring a hedonistic gay party with these funds, rather than donating them to an HIV research facility or hospital treating HIV patients, reveals their true purpose. Afterall, you don't raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving by throwing a kegger... It just burns me to think of all the money I've spent at Walgreens, some part of which was re-allocated to fund this debauchery.
26 posted on 11/30/2005 10:04:49 PM PST by so_real ("The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.")
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To: Air Force Brat

My opinion only, but don't you think there is a huge gulf between refusing to hand out a prescription that terminates a life and refusing to hand out a prescription that saves a life? I recognize that distinction and would act accordingly; I assume most pharmacists are capable of the same. Maintaining the "highest principles of moral, ethical, and legal conduct" is part of the oath.


27 posted on 11/30/2005 10:18:53 PM PST by so_real ("The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.")
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To: so_real

Of course there's a difference. I picked that choice because it was a choice based on religious belief - which to my understanding is the root of this case. It probably wasn't the best choice, and thank you for highlighting its weakness.

I am unfamiliar with the oath pharmacists take, and what the legal significance, if any, that oath has.

But if it is, as you say, to maintain the "highest principles of moral, ethical, and legal conduct," then these pharmacists clearly fail on the third count, which is the only one that is legally testable. The other two are more subjective than the third, but I think a valid argument could be made that illegally interfering with the decision reached by a patient and her physician may not pass the test of "ethical" in a science-based profession such as pharmacy.

Moral, perhaps; but not ethical. And apparently in Illinois not legal. Doesn't sound like a strong position to me.


28 posted on 11/30/2005 11:05:11 PM PST by Air Force Brat
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To: Stump

Regardless, my best friend Beth was raped by this piece of human filth, and she decided to get the "Morning after" pill. I went with her for moral support. She walked right into planned parenthood, told the receptionist what she was there for, she was given a pregnancy test, and the nwas given the pills. At the Planned parenthood office, for $17.00. No prescriptin required.


29 posted on 12/01/2005 12:20:07 AM PST by chae (R.I.P. Eddie Guerrero He lied, he cheated, he stole my heart)
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To: SteveMcKing
Hope they sue.

For refusing to follow the direction of their employer. That's a plan

30 posted on 12/01/2005 4:47:31 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:the Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: Stump
I'm sorry but I must disagree with most who've posted. A pharmacist's job is to dispence prescribed drugs, NOT to impose his/her beliefs on you.

I tend to agree with this viewpoint. What if it were a PETA nutjob that refused to dispense Premarin because it is made out of horse urine?It appears Walgreens handled the situation well to me.

31 posted on 12/01/2005 4:53:58 AM PST by IamConservative (Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times will pick himself up and carry on.)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Aside from the government involvement angle, I have a strange idea: If you don't want to dispense this stuff, then don't apply for a job at at a place that expects you to do it.

It's like a Jew getting a job at a pig slaughterhouse and then complaining about the non-kosher environment.

Ummmm... No. Assumably (I do not have the 4 folk's length of tenure at Walgreens at my fingertips), at least one or more of these pharmacists predates the invention of the abortifacient "emergency contraception" (misleading name) pill. Also, your simile presumes that these gents knew that this new rule from Blagoyovich (sp?) would be coming. Since there was an outcry when it happened, I submit that the rule could not have been anticipated.

This case will hopefully end with the rule being invalidated in the courts. I wish that Blagoyovich's political career would also be invalidated.

32 posted on 12/01/2005 4:56:10 AM PST by MortMan (Eschew Obfuscation)
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To: sinkspur
Actually, informing and counseling is the job of the doctor...

My wife is a pharmacist. Informing and counseling is, BY LAW, her job...

33 posted on 12/01/2005 6:02:16 AM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Solemar

Umm.... If you don't like killing cows, don't work at the stockyards, and if you have a problem dispensing certain drugs, don't be a pharmacist

Ummm... Are you aware that this is a newer drug? What about all the pharmacists who have been practicing for years before this became available? They never signed on to be part of abortions, and now suddenly they are being forced to against their will! It's obscene and I seriously doubt you want to live in a country where government and employers can come along and force you to do any number of things against your will and conscience or be forced to give up your livelihood.

What would you say in this case: A doctor of 20 years has been working at a clinic or HMO for several years. All of a sudden a new director comes along and says 'All MD's at this clinic must now perform abortions any time a patient requests one.' Are they now just supposed to 'do their job and shut up' as you so caringly feel the pharmacists should?


34 posted on 12/01/2005 6:14:27 AM PST by usmom
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To: Onelifetogive
My wife is a pharmacist. Informing and counseling is, BY LAW, her job...

Does your wife's job include overriding a doctor's prescription for a patient? That is what these pharmacists are doing.

It is not the job of a pharmacist to decide what she will and will not dispense. If she cannot dispense ALL of the medications or drugs that are available at a particular pharmacy chain, then it is up to HER to go to work for someone else who does not dispense those objectionable drugs.

As others have pointed out, what if a PETA-inclined pharmacist declined to dispense drugs that were tested on animals? Should they have that right, and should they have the right to lecture you about animal rights?

35 posted on 12/01/2005 8:25:49 AM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: Tzimisce

I must say that most of these situations are avoidable. First of all, it is well-known that this drug is controversial and some pharmacists have a problem dispensing it. Any doctor worth their salt, in my opinion, will call this into a pharmacy ahead of time to make sure it is in stock and the pharmacist will fill it If there is a problem at the first pharmacy, call another and tell the patient where it will be filled and waiting for them. This eliminates any inconvenience for the patient and avoids others from being put in an uncomfortable situation. Problem solved- no confrontation, and no one has to do something against their beliefs or punished for not doing so. I also think a lot of these 'walk-in' prescriptions for this are set-ups by various groups to 'catch' pharmacists who don't want to fill it and then make a big stink to further their agenda.

Option 2: As an employee of afforementioned company, there is a protocol in place to deal with this. If a pharmacist is presented with a prescription they do not wish to fill on moral grounds, this is the procedure:
DO NOT confront the patient in any way. You are to privately alert the store manager (to act as a third party). They then take the patient discreetly aside and apologize for the inconvenience, but say that the pharmacy is unable to fill their prescription at this time (no need to even give a reason- could just be out of stock for all they know). Then give the patient the choice of waiting until such time as it can be filled (different RPh on duty who has no objections and will call as soon as it is filled) or calling ahead to another pharmacy. Once again, probelm solved with minimal inconvenience and no one having to do something against their will/beliefs. Even this small inconvenience could be avoided if the doctor calls ahead to begin with. (By the way, almost all legitimate prescriptions for this drug are presented on- surprise, surprise!- Saturday or Sunday afternoons.)


36 posted on 12/01/2005 8:30:24 AM PST by usmom
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To: usmom
All of a sudden a new director comes along and says 'All MD's at this clinic must now perform abortions any time a patient requests one.' Are they now just supposed to 'do their job and shut up' as you so caringly feel the pharmacists should?

Yes. When I receive a paycheck from an employer, I do what he tells me to do. If he tells me to do something immoral, I find another employer.

What is so hard about that?

Some states allow conscience exceptions. Texas is one of those, but, since Texas is a right-to-work state, the employee can still be fired.

A religious belief does not require an employer to accommodate each and every tenet of that belief. A religious belief also, by definition, means that the believer will put that belief above every other consideration.

If your belief demands that you find another position or employer, then find another position or employer.

37 posted on 12/01/2005 8:31:03 AM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: flashbunny
thanks for the very pertinent update
38 posted on 12/01/2005 8:31:55 AM PST by wardaddy (Merry Christmas ya'll)
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To: sinkspur
I am a believer in free markets. I don't think the government should compel any pharmacist to fill any prescription they do not wish to fill. As I do not believe that the government should compel a doctor to perform a procedure he does not wish to perform or a cafe to serve any food (or even any patron) it does not wish to serve.

That said, I think the pharmacy has every right to fire any pharmacist for any reason, including this one.

39 posted on 12/01/2005 8:49:40 AM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: sinkspur

Gotta keep those abortifacients flowing, eh sinky?


40 posted on 12/01/2005 8:52:26 AM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Petronski
Can you stop being an old lady for one day, Petronksi?

Just one day, enough with the juvenile comments.

41 posted on 12/01/2005 9:06:54 AM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: sinkspur

The truth burns you.


42 posted on 12/01/2005 9:07:25 AM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Air Force Brat
I am surprised anyone would defend pharmacists who are violating the public trust by inserting their own opinions into private medical decisions made by a patient and her doctor. It's inappropriate, in my opinion.

Aren't you forcing your own beliefs/opinions on the pharmacist who doesn't want to dispense a certain medication? How is a pharmacist who doesn't want to dispense morning after pills because it violates his personal beliefs any different from a doctor who refuses to do abortions because it violates HIS personal beliefs? Shall we force both to do something against their consciences?

You may go to another pharmacist or order the pills through the mail from the manufacturer. There is a way to respect everyone's choices in this situation.

43 posted on 12/01/2005 9:31:45 AM PST by A Ruckus of Dogs
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To: IamConservative
What if it were a PETA nutjob that refused to dispense Premarin because it is made out of horse urine?It appears Walgreens handled the situation well to me.

If Walgreen doesn't want to dispense Premarin, that should be respected. Stores have the right to sell whatever they want - pharmacies should be no different.

44 posted on 12/01/2005 9:34:15 AM PST by A Ruckus of Dogs
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To: sinkspur

I am speechless at your reply. It is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin, so I won't. I'm just glad I don't know or work for you. I will just ask once again- do you honestly believe a doctor should be forced to perform abortions against their will or conscience by an employer (after the doctor had previously been employed there with the understanding that they would not?) Please think about this seriously before replying again.


45 posted on 12/01/2005 10:22:02 AM PST by usmom
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To: usmom
do you honestly believe a doctor should be forced to perform abortions against their will or conscience by an employer (after the doctor had previously been employed there with the understanding that they would not?)

No doctor is forced to do abortions in this country. If an employer changes terms of employment, some states will grandfather in these conscience clauses. Some won't.

I don't know exactly how these kinds of things apply to doctors. He may have to consider affiliating with another provider.

But, why would a doctor who doesn't perform abortions remain employed at a clinic or hospital where they are now performed?

46 posted on 12/01/2005 11:33:10 AM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: Air Force Brat
What if your friend died?

You jumped the shark here. If your AIDS-infected friend couldn't get his prescription from one pharmacy, he'd go to another.

Why are there so many people on FR who hate freedom?

47 posted on 12/01/2005 11:43:14 AM PST by Sloth (Freedom of speech doesn't mean the rest of us have to shut up.)
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To: Sloth

Where's a conservative lawyer when you need one? Oh...I forgot they like to talk a lot instead walking the walk...


48 posted on 12/01/2005 11:49:42 AM PST by gman992
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: usmom

What would you say in this case: A doctor of 20 years has All of a sudden a new director comes along and says 'All MD's at this clinic must now perform abortions any time a patient requests one.' Are they now just supposed to 'do their job and shut up' as you so caringly feel the pharmacists should?

Sorry. I say tough.

What if you have been working somewhere for several years and the company gets taken over and you do not agree with the philosophy of the new owners? Do you demand that they accomodate you? Or do you start getting your resume in order?

Just my $0.02, but I think the root of much of the outcry on this particular situation is the fact that the issue of "abortion" is involved - which tends to send people on both sides into orbit.



50 posted on 12/01/2005 9:11:06 PM PST by Solemar
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