Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Pharmacist Refuses Pill to Customer on Religious Grounds

Lloyds Chemist: The family friendly Chemist which still manages to look like Alcatraz...

It will be interesting to see whether anything develops in the press about this, like, say, whether she is able to keep her position or ends up at the Jobcentre.


Ronan said...


A few things spring to mind here. What was refused was a contraceptive pill, as opposed to the abortifacient morning after pill. I know a pharmacist is within their rights to refuse the latter, but had no idea they could refuse the former. There was a story a couple of years back about a muslim pharmacist who worked for Sainsburies refusing the morning after pill. I thought that story was great, as he'd clearly irked the lady who wanted to make him complicit in flushing her body out of any life she might have conceived the night before. To make a stand like this over a contraceptive, as opposed to abortifacient, is an even bolder move, particularly because contraception is a much lesser evil than abortion.

The other thing that occurs to me is that contraceptive pills can be used to prevent painful periods, and aren't necessarily being used primarily to stop conception. If this was the case then the pharmacist would have no grounds to deny the drugs, although the only way to know for sure would be to see the patient's medical records, which obviously she has no right to see.

I wonder if the pharmacist was Muslim? Christian?

On the side of the angels said...

no Ronan sorry - 'fraid you're in error regarding Lloyd's ethical code.

You MUST either provide the medication yourself or refer the customer to a co-worker ; irrespective of the nature of the prescription.

This issue has arisen before - technically Lloyds make it impossible for any Catholic or pro-Life christian/Muslim etc pharmacist to be employed by them.

Dominic Mary said...

Llyods may have that policy; but if there is no other Pharmacist present, as any Pharmacist has the right to refuse to dispense medicines for reasons of conscience, the policy would be unenforceable - and from the story, she was a locum covering the absence of other pharmacists, so presumably there wasn't anyone else there who could have done it - indeed the story says that the Pharmacist suggested that the lady 'come back tomorrow' when someone else would be there.

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