Some Pharmacists Refusing to Fill Prescriptions

By Allen, Jane E. | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 28, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Some Pharmacists Refusing to Fill Prescriptions


Allen, Jane E., THE JOURNAL RECORD


LOS ANGELES -- Fearing that she was pregnant after a romantic night with her husband, Michelle Crider asked for help.

Instead, she got a deadlock -- with pharmacist John Boling.

When her doctor, Myron Schonbrun, asked Boling to supply Crider with Ovral birth control pills -- take two pills immediately, then two more within 12 hours -- the pharmacy manager at Longs Drug Store in Temecula, Calif., refused. "I kind of understood immediately," Schonbrun recalled. At that dosage, Ovral was a morning-after pill, meant to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, and Boling disapproved. But Schonbrun knew that though Crider deeply wanted another child, pregnancy made her deathly ill. So the doctor tried to finesse the problem. He asked Boling to provide a month's supply of Ovral, to be taken one a day, like any contraceptive. Boling again refused. He said he "knew what it was going to be given for," Schonbrun recalled. Boling's revolt is just the beginning. With the FDA's recent proclamation that morning-after pills are safe and effective, corner druggists across America could increasingly find themselves in the middle of conflicts that pit personal beliefs against patient rights. And in coming years, pharmacists will face even more serious challenges when the RU-486 abortion pill is approved, or if other states follow Oregon in legalizing drugs for physician-assisted suicide. The pharmacists are caught in a Catch-22. The American Pharmaceutical Association, with 48,000 members, supports a pharmacist's right of refusal -- but says that right must not override a patient's right to treatment. In other words, pharmacists must find a way to accommodate their own beliefs, as well as those of the patient. That could mean referring a prescription to another pharmacist -- a prospect that might satisfy neither the scruples nor the competitive fires of the dissenting druggist. "Ethics demands that it's what you ought to do for the patient, not for yourself," said Richard Abood, a professor of pharmacy practice at University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in Stockton, Calif. "The pharmacist might be a little repulsed to give it to another pharmacist, but ... sometimes you've got to do things that are uncomfortable." In fact, Crider -- who has taught contraception to migrant workers -- eventually got her prescription from a nearby Vons supermarket. "I'm still very angry," she said. "Without knowing my situation, he could have affected a huge part of my life. What if there had been no other pharmacy to go to?" The process was "demeaning," says Crider, 28, the mother of a 2- year-old girl. Boling, whose behavior brought a reprimand from Longs, declined to be interviewed for this story, citing instructions to refer all queries to company headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Some Pharmacists Refusing to Fill Prescriptions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?