Walgreens Revamps Pharmacists Training after Woman Denied Drug

By Langreth, Robert; Kasumov, Aziza | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), June 27, 2018 | Go to article overview

Walgreens Revamps Pharmacists Training after Woman Denied Drug


Langreth, Robert, Kasumov, Aziza, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


Walgreens will revamp its training after an Arizona woman said she was humiliated when a pharmacist, citing personal objections, refused to fill a prescription to treat her miscarriage.

In an incident that sparked heated commentary on social media, a pharmacist at a Walgreens store in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria wouldn't dispense a miscarriage drug for Nicole Mone Arteaga, who had just found out that her baby's development had stopped.

"I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor," Arteaga said in a Facebook post on June 22.

According to BuzzFeed news, Arteaga was prescribed misoprostol, one of two medicines used in medical abortion. But the drug is also used as a standard treatment during miscarriages to help speed the process of expelling nonviable tissue, as an alternative to surgery. Arteaga, who later obtained the medicine from a different Walgreens store, didn't immediately respond to a text message, or a phone message left with her mother.

Six states, including Arizona, have laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medication based on personal belief, according to the National Women's Law Center. Several other states have broader laws that could be interpreted as allowing pharmacists to refuse to provide a drug, the group says.

Walgreens has policies that allow pharmacists to avoid filling a prescription when they have moral objections. But the pharmacist is required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager "in a timely manner, said Michael Polzin, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Illinois-based company.

"We will provide additional training to all of our pharmacists on appropriately handling these situations in accordance with our policy, said Polzin, who added that the details of the training were still being worked out. "We want the process to be as seamless as possible for the patient.

Walgreens has apologized to Arteaga, he said.

Walgreens is the latest retailer to examine its training policies after an incident at one of its stores. …

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