Pharmacists Want Right to Decline to Fill Morning After Pill, Poll Shows

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 12, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pharmacists Want Right to Decline to Fill Morning After Pill, Poll Shows Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 12, 2005

Washington, DC ( — As the issue of whether pharmacists should be forced to fill drugs that violate their moral or religious beliefs heats up around the country, a new nationwide poll shows an overwhelming majority want the ability to opt out.

The poll, conducted earlier this month by HCD Research of Flemington, New Jersey, surveyed 859 pharmacists who responded via email and fax.

The results showed 69 percent of pharmacists believe they should have the ability to decline filling prescriptions for the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion.

The firm conducted the poll after news of four Illinois pharmacists fired from Walgreens stores near St. Louis after they said they would not fill orders for the Plan B drug because of their views on it.

HCD Research found that just 29 percent of those pharmacists polled believed Walgreens was justified in putting the pharmacists on unpaid leave. They have since filed a complaint with the EEOC about the actions and may file a lawsuit if they doesn’t help them return to work.

Glenn Kessler, the research firm’s co-founder and managing partner, said he believes the results are accurate because those surveyed were questioned anonymously.

He told the Staten Island Advance newspaper that the results were fairly consistent across various regions of the nation.

"Do I have reservations about dispensing it? Sure I do," said Mickey Lemole, owner of Lemole Pharmacy in New Dorp, told the Staten Island Advance newspaper. "A lot of stores don’t stock it [the morning-after pill]."

Lemole told the newspaper his colleagues generally support the right of pharmacists to decline filling certain prescriptions, thought he said they should send customers to another store to fill it.