Massachusetts Pharmacy Board Orders Wal-Mart to Carry Plan B Drugs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Pharmacy Board Orders Wal-Mart to Carry Plan B Drugs Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 13, 2006

Boston, MA ( — The Massachusetts state pharmacy board has ruled that Wal-Mart stores there must carry the morning after pill in its pharmacies, even though the company has a policy not to carry the Plan B pills in any of its stores. Pro-life groups oppose the drug because it can sometimes cause abortions.

The state becomes the second, after Illinois, to require the retail giant to carry the drugs and a Wal-Mart representative indicated the company would comply with the ruling.

The board’s unanimous vote comes three weeks after three women, all members of pro-abortion groups, sued Wal-Mart for refusing to carry the drugs.

Wal-Mart has until Thursday to provide the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy with written documentation verifying it is complying with the order.

Prior to the decision, the board said it had not received any complaints about Wal-Mart not carrying the drug.

Company spokesman Dan Fogelman says Wal-mart "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons," citing low customer demand as one reason. He indicated that Wal-Mart pharmacists refer customers to other pharmacies that carry drugs it doesn’t.

Samuel Perkins, who represented the women in the lawsuit threatened to file more lawsuits in other states if the company does not change it’s national policy.

"Clearly women’s health is a high priority for Wal-Mart," Fogleman told the Associated Press. "We are actively thinking through the issue."

Perkins filed the complaint with the state pharmacy board at the same time he filed the lawsuit, claiming the retailer was violating state law.

Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, NARAL’s state affiliate, and a group that provides abortion funds for women all backed the women in the lawsuit.

Responding to the board’s decision, NARAL’s state affiliate said it was "delighted" and called on Wal-Mart to carry the Plan B drugs in all of its pharmacies. Wal-Mart operates 44 pharmacies in Massachusetts and more than 3,700 nationwide.

The group said it and it’s national organization have send 26,000 messages to Wal-Mart urging it to carry the morning after pill.

Last year the state legislature approved a measure allowing pharmacists to dispense the drug without a prescription and overrode a veto by Governor Mitt Romney.

Illinois became the first state to require the company to stock the morning after pill after pro-abortion Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order forcing pharmacists to fill all legal prescriptions, including for drugs that can cause abortions.

Four pharmacists who were fired in January from a Walgreens store for refusing to fill the Plan B drug have filed suit seeking to overturn the order.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to email Wal-Mart and thank them for not stocking the morning after pill.