Pharmacist Cites Religious Beliefs, Refuses to Dispense Prescribed Drug


Should a pharmacist be allowed to refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription based on his or her religious beliefs?

A Michigan woman says she suffered a miscarriage and was prescribed a drug to treat it, but that a pharmacist used “religious beliefs” as an excuse not to fill it.

The incident happened back in July, but the woman says she’s working with the American Civil Liberties Union to get a chance of policy at the Meijer’s grocery store.

As the story goes, the woman suffered a miscarriage — her fetus’s heart stopped beating. Her doctor prescribed a drug called Misoprostol.

WebMD states the drug is used to prevent stomach ulcers and can also be used to induce labor.

When it’s combined with a second drug, Mifepristone, it can end a pregnancy. In other words, when you combine the two drugs they cause an abortion.

The woman was told the prescription would be filled at Meijer’s pharmacy. But she claims the pharmacist called back saying he couldn’t “in good conscience” fill the prescription because “he was a good Catholic male and could not support an abortion.”

But it wasn’t an abortion.

The fetus was already dead.

And beyond that, it was absolutely none of the pharmacist’s business either way. If a doctor prescribes a drug, the pharmacist ought to fill it. The pharmacist’s “religious beliefs” shouldn’t even enter into it.

The grocery store chain claimed its policy is that a pharmacist is allowed to refuse to fill a prescription for religious beliefs, but if that happens, another pharmacist must step in.

In this case, the woman says there was no second pharmacist on duty to step in and save the day.

The woman who’d already lost her baby had surely been through enough. Her anguish needn’t have been intensified because of a pharmacist trying to insert his presumed moral superiority into the situation.

Why, after all, would his beliefs be more important than the woman presenting a valid prescription?

Do you believe that a pharmacist is responsible for any misuse of a drug whose prescription he fills? I certainly don’t.

It reminds me of the old meme, “You had one job.” He had one in this scenario and didn’t do it.

That shouldn’t be acceptable.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.