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Measure Dropped That Would Have Allowed Druggist Refuse Service To Gays


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Measure Dropped That Would Have Allowed Druggist Refuse Service To Gays

by The Associated Press

Posted: October 8, 2005 4:00 pm ET

(Jackson, Wyoming) The Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy has rejected a proposed rule that would have allowed pharmacists to not fill prescriptions based on their personal beliefs.

The proposal was put forward last month. (story)

Board members voted 3-0 to reject the change, but said they planned to reconsider the rule with different language at their next meeting in February.

Board members insisted they set out to protect patients by proposing the change.

The board, made up of three voting members and three ex-officio members, received more than 100 letters and listened to 15 people on Wednesday opposed to the proposal.

The rule would have required pharmacists who choose not to fill prescriptions, based on their personal beliefs, to refer patients to druggists who would provide the medication.

But many who protested the proposed rule said it could cause hardship for patients because of the limited number of pharmacies in rural areas.

Board member Randy Harrop said the intent of the proposal was to protect patients.

Board members said they believe pharmacists already can reject prescriptions for personal reasons, although no rule specifically states that, according to a report in the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

"I believe our intent was good," board member Kay McManus said. "I think our language was not the best."

Harrop suggested the rule be reworked and considered at the next meeting, which will take place in Casper.

"I personally believe we need something like this," Harrop said.

In some states, pharmacists have refused to give patients doctor-prescribed medication and won't transfer the prescription to another pharmacist or return it to customers.

The Wyoming rule would have forced pharmacists to make a referral.

But critics argued that women could be denied birth control pills or emergency contraception and that the rule would make it difficult for patients in rural areas to obtain their medication because of a lack of alternative pharmacies.

"In Wyoming many people live hours away from the next pharmacy," Stacey Caesar, director of community development for Planned Parenthood in Jackson, said.

Jennifer Nevins, a pharmacist and past Wyoming Pharmacy Board member, was one of two people who supported the change.

"What I feel this rule does is give the patient an alternative," she said.

After listening to opponents she suggested the board remove "personal beliefs" from the rule.

But State Rep. Pete Jorgensen, D-Jackson, said he opposed the rule on behalf of his constituents and still wouldn't be happy if the language was taken out.

"The pharmacist's duty is to fill a prescription unless it is an invalid prescription in some way," he said.

Jorgensen urged the board to consider that the Wyoming Legislature could weaken its power if it approved the change.

"You stand to lose much more than you'll gain," he said.

Jean Barash, a Wilson resident, said such issues shouldn't have to be considered as "this is the United States of America and we are not under the Taliban rule."

"It seems ludicrous to me that I am here to defend my right to a relationship with my physician," she said.

Jill Veber, a pediatrician and former pharmacist, warned the rule could cause a snowball effect as pharmacists could opt to reject prescriptions for obese people or HIV positive patients if pharmacists don't condone lifestyles that may have caused such conditions.

©365Gay.com 2005


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