Plan B, also called the “morning after pill” is an emergency contraceptive. Some pharmacists have refused to stock and fill the prescription, citing ethical reservations, causing the AMA to affirmatively state its support for the contraceptive and urge pharmacists to sell it and for the FDA to allow over-the-counter distribution. A partial victory was achieved in 2006 to allow OTC dispensing without a doctor’s note for those over 18 years of age. However, some pharmacists continued to refuse to fill the prescription, including the owners of Ralph’s Thriftway pharmacy chain in Washington State in 2006, causing some to boycott the chain. Ralph’s was later found by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy to have violated the state pharmacy code in so doing. Ralph’s lawsuit to block the ruling reached the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which has now ruled against the pharmacy chain, saying ALL pharmacists must stock and dispense the contraceptive.
From the ruling:
“Any refusal to dispense — regardless of whether it is motivated by religion, morals, conscience, ethics, discriminatory prejudices, or personal distaste for a patient — violates the rules,” the panel said.
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