Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The AMA takes a stand against pharmacist obstruction of clinical practice

The AMA has announced a plan to take on Pharmacist Refusals to fill legally prescribed medications based on the pharmacists personal religious philopsphy and "moral" objections. At its annual meeting on Monday, the organization voted to support legislative initiatives requiring pharmacists and pharmcies to fill legally valid prescriptions.
If the pharmacist or pharmacy has objections, they should provide an "immediate referral to an appropriate alternative dispensing pharmacy without interference," according to the resolution passed Monday by the AMA's policymaking House of Delegates.
The AMA decided to through its support behind initiatives because physicians want to ensure their patients are able to obtain medication prescribed to them without interference and/or potentially detrimental interruption.
If a pharmacist has a moral objection, there should at least be a plan to get the drug as quickly as possible to the patient through other means, doctors have testified at their annual meeting this week at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.

"Our position is on behalf of the patient," said Dr. Peter Carmel, an AMA board member and neurosurgeon from New Jersey. "The AMA strongly believes patients have to have access to their medications. It's the obligation on behalf of the pharmacist ... to tell them where to go."
The AMA policy is similar to that developed the nation's largest pharmacy chain, Walgreen's, which has had it's own problems as a result of the completely misdirected "Pharmacist Conscience" Clause
"Pharmacists can remove themselves from filling prescriptions that they have moral objections to," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said. "But we require them to either have another pharmacist at that store fill it, or, if another pharmacist is not on duty, to contact store management, and the store manager will make arrangements for that prescription to be filled at another pharmacy before the patient leaves the store."

The intent of Walgreens' policy is to make sure a patient doesn't leave the store wondering where the prescription can get filled, Polzin said.

"We have over 15,000 pharmacists working for us across the country, so we feel this policy balances respecting our pharmacists' beliefs with meeting our obligation to the patient," Polzin said. "A pharmacist should be able to step away from that situation, but we don't want them to step in the way."
Unfortunately, some pharmacists feel the need to interfere with the medical treatment of patients to prevent those patients from obtaining legitimate and legal medications because the Pharmacist personally (and erroneously) believes the medications induce abortions or is otherwise morally offended by the medication. Conservatives seem to support the notion that any action that prevents a Christian from impose his or her moral views on another being that does not, likewise, subscribe to those views is a violation of the right to freedom of religious expression. This "my rights are violated when I'm prevented from persecuting those who aren't adherents to my religion" stands in direct violation of the US Constitution (especially as only certain denominations of Christians are allowed to utilize this arugument).

In his assertions to this point on his show last night, Tucker Carlson proved that some people get paid way too much money for just blowing it out their ass by claiming the AMA had stepped over the line.
"This is so authoritarian and coercive, I don't even know what to say, Max, except this: If people have a religious objection to doing something, and it's their business—they're not working for the government, they're working for a private enterprise—you shouldn't be allowed to force them. You shouldn't force kosher butchers to sell pork or force, I don't know, Christian Science convenience store owners to sell Advil. It's wrong."

I've got news for Tucker: this isn't a requirement that all pharamcies carry and fill prescriptions for all medications (just that those that do stock the meds fill those prescriptions that are valid, transfer the prescription to one that does or return the prescription so it can be filled in a reasonable amount of time). Additionally, a Jehovah's witness working in the medical field could not refuse to provide a medically warranted blood transfusion on a patient who has not refused this treatment, let alone interfere in that transfusion should someone else deem to perform one.

A pharmacist is not trained (or licensed) to practice medicine and, as such, has no place interefering in valid and legal medical treatment. It is not the place of the pharmacist to demand to know the marital status of the patient or know the indication for which a medicine is prescibed (or to make assumptions about either of these), to do so not only violates the patient's right to privacy but also interferes in medical practice (which puts the pharmacist in a position in which s/he is illegally practicing medicine without a license).
As I've said many times before, if a pharmacist finds use of any prescription medication that can be used as a contraceptive agent (or any other medication) so morally objectionable, that pharmacist should refrain from taking a job at any pharmacy that stocks that class of medication (there are Christian Pharmacies and/or the Pharmacist could start his/her own Pharmacy with a no contraception policy), but there is no rational reason to confer new rights to allow a group of people to impose their religious requirements on non-adherents with the inaccurate justification that failing to do so is a violation of that group's right religion freedom - it's a ludicrous act of intellectual dishonesty.

Hat tip to Pseudo-Adrienne

note: late edit to update post with link and direct quote from Carlson

Tags: ; ;
; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

online pharmacy said...

Hi, sorry to intrude but could you please refer me to an online pharmacy that can be trusted. Thank you and good luck with your blog.