Another Pro-Life Pharmacist Under Fire for Refusing to Dispense Drugs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Pro-Life Pharmacist Under Fire for Refusing to Dispense Drugs

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16, 2004

Menomonie, WI ( — Another pro-life pharmacist is under fire for refusing to refill a prescription drug request. On the heels of a Texas pharmacist who was fired by the Eckerd Drug company for refusing to fill an order for the morning after pill, a Wisconsin pharmacist is being accused by the state of unprofessional conduct for saying he would not fill an order for birth control pills.

Neil Noesen, 30, said he would not fill the birth control prescription because of his pro-life beliefs and concern that such pills can sometimes cause abortions.

Noesen also would not transfer the prescription to another pharmacy, according to a complaint filed Friday with the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board by the state Department of Regulation and Licensing.

Attempts to contact Noesen for this story were unsuccessful.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Noesen was working as a temporary pharmacist at a K-Mart store in Menomonie during the summer of 2002.

Before he was hired, Noesen made it clear that he would not fill orders for birth control drugs he believed to be abortifacient.

Noesen was told he would not have to fill such orders and that a managing pharmacist would do so.

However, Noesen was the only pharmacist on duty when a customer came in with a prescription request. He asked the female customer, a University of Wisconsin-Stout student, whether she intended to use the drugs for birth control or for another reason.

When she confirmed they were for birth control, he refused to fill the order and would not tell her where she could go to get the order filled.

Chris Klein, executive assistant in the state Department of Regulation and Licensing, said Noesen "apparently was willing to provide it if it was for regulating her period."

Later that day, a Wal-Mart pharmacy called to transfer the prescription request and Noesen again refused, according to the Journal.

After asking the local police for help, officers and a K-Mart manager met with Noesen, the newspaper reported. The managing pharmacist eventually filled the prescription and the police took no actions against Noesen.

The woman complained to the Pharmacy Examining Board in July 2002. The Department of Regulation and Licensing offered Noesen a deal that would require him to pay a $250 fine, according to the Capital Times newspaper.

Noesen declined to settle.

The Pharmacy Examining Board’s policy allows pharmacists to opt out of filling prescriptions that violate their conscience, though state law doesn’t. However, the policy requires pharmacists to transfer the prescription.

Noesen has 20 days to respond to the complain and a judge will hear the case in May. He will be represented by Krystal Williams-Oby, of Kingdom Legal Services.