Canadian Medical Journal Fires Editors Over Morning After Pill Report

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 22, 2006

Ottawa, Canada ( — The two top editors at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have been fired after writing an investigative piece claiming pharmacists presented with prescriptions for the morning after pill were asking women about their sexual relations.

The editor and deputy editor of the journal have been fired after a dispute about the January story. An editorial board member told the Ottawa Citizen newspaper the two were fired in an "unexpected and unexplained" fashion.

According to the Citizen, the Canadian Medical Association censored a story the editors were prepared to run on the pharmacists.

Dr. John Hoey, the journal’s editor, told the newspaper his reported were engaging in "perfectly acceptable" journalism when they asked 13 women across Canada to go to pharmacies to purchase the morning after pills and describe what happened as they did.

Unlike in the United States, the morning after pill is available for sale over the counter without first visiting a physician. Canada allowed the sales in April 2005.

The journal claimed the pharmacists asked for names and addresses of the women and asked them questions about how frequently they were having unprotected sex.

The survey also found some pharmacists were not selling the drugs because they objected to the morning after pill since it can sometimes cause an abortion.

According to the Citizen, the editors wrote online that the CMA objected to the story following complaints from the Canadian Pharmacists Association. Hoey said the CPA wanted the story pulled.

"They (the CMA) thought that sending patients into pharmacies was a low form of journalism and believed it was research and should have had research ethics board approval," he told the Citizen.