Bitter Pill for Tesco after Apology

Article excerpt

Tesco apologised to a woman yesterday after she was refused the morning-after pill at one of their stores.

Ruth Johnson, 30, was refused the emergency contraception by a locum pharmacist working within a store's dispensary in Cleethorpes.

The mother-of-two, whose youngest child was born four weeks ago, had not been using her usual contraception with her fiance and asked for the pill Levonelle at her local store.

Tesco apologised yesterday but said the pharmacist was acting within his rights under an industry code of ethics.

A spokesman added: "We do apologise to Mrs Johnson for the inconvenience caused. However, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's code of ethics allows pharmacists the right to refuse."

Priya Sejpal, head of professional ethics at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), said: "The Royal Pharmaceutical Society code of ethics requires pharmacists to make the care of their patients their first concern and to show respect for others.

"However, as with other healthcare professional regulators, the RPSGB recognises that a pharmacist's beliefs or personal convictions may prevent them from providing a particular professional service, for example the supply of emergency hormonal contraception via prescription or over the counter. …