August 4, 2005
No way out
Bitch Ph.D. summarizes what wingnuts want for women:
The Republican party is promoting laws to make birth control and rape counselling unavailable; to allow pharmacists to deny birth control even with a prescription; to deny emergency contraception to women, including rape victims, who need it to prevent pregnancy; and to restrict abortion. Bush has nominated a Supreme Court Justice who we have reason to believe wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.
No birth control. No emergency contraception, not even if you are raped. No counselling if you are raped. No abortion.
Still, you’d expect this from crazed conservatives. What you wouldn’t expect is that they are being aided and abetted by “professional organizations” like the American Pharmacists Association, which has more than 50,000 members and since 1998 has endorsed a pharmacist’s right to refuse to dispense any medication that goes against their moral or religious convictions. (So much for the APhA’s mission statement, which is “Improving medication use. Advancing patient care.”)
As I’ve written before, the role of a pharmacist is to dispense any medication prescribed by a licensed physician, and if necessary advise me on how to use that medication. That’s it. Nothing else. Once written, the prescription belongs to me, so if a pharmacist refuses to return an unfilled one—apparently a popular wingnut tactic—they are stealing my property. I believe that’s a crime.
The good news is that drugstore pharmacists are dying out, albeit slowly. To cut costs, more and more U.S. healthcare providers are requiring patients to have routine prescriptions (such as contraceptives and drugs used to treat chronic pain) filled via large mail-order drug dispensers like Medco. Many federally and state-funded healthcare programs will eventually go mail-order too.
This won’t solve the problem of filling one-off prescriptions such as morning-after birth control—for that, patients and patient-rights groups will have to resort to the courts. But it will make pharmacists increasingly dispensable—and the wingnuts are going to find it much harder to infiltrate companies like Medco.
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