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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

God Complex

Here we go again, Washington Considering 'Pharmacist Refusal' Proposal.

ATTENTION PHARMACISTS. YOU ARE NOT DOCTORS. If you were, you would be the one's writing the prescriptions instead of filling them.

I don't mean to demean the profession in any way. Pharmacists play a valuable role in the process. But their role is limited. Good pharmacists understand their role and don't overstep their bounds.

So let's elaborate a little on the difference between a doctor and a pharmacist. I go to the doctor for advice on my health and for help with making decisions about any problems I may have. I go to the pharmacist to fill any prescriptions that my doctor may have given me for treatment. Do you see the difference here? I actively seek advice/treatment from my doctor, not from the pharmacist.

Now I do appreciate the fact the pharmacist may be able to recommend an equivalent alternative that would be better or cheaper. And I really appreciate it when the pharmacist warns me about taking it without food or asks me if I am taking any other medications to make sure I don't have any reactions. But this is not advice about medical decisions made between me and my doctor. This is helping me carry out those decisions in a safe manner.

Feel free to browse the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists. There is a lot of interesting stuff in there, but nowhere can I find an allowance for pharmacists to overrule the decision making of the doctor-patient relationship. In fact, there are a lot of things about respecting the rights of the patient:

a pharmacist promises to help individuals achieve optimum benefit from their medications, to be committed to their welfare, and to maintain their trust.

A pharmacist is dedicated to protecting the dignity of the patient. With a caring attitude and a compassionate spirit, a pharmacist focuses on serving the patient in a private and confidential manner.

In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients.

A pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise dedication to the best interests of patients.

So if a woman and her doctor decide that a perfectly legal drug is the best treatment, then by their own code of ethics, the pharmacist has a duty to fill that prescription. If a pharmacist cannot fullfill his/her duty, then he/she needs to find another line of work.

But what about pharmacists' rights? You can't force them to do something they are morally opposed to? This is a free country after all, isn't it?

If you are a pacifist, you shouldn't join the armed forces. If you are a militant vegetarian, you shouldn't work in a steak house. Surely, I am not the only one who realizes that doctors prescribe birth control and morning after pills to women.

If you are a pharmacist and you don't like the fact that there is a drug available to prevent conception and you can't uphold your own code of ethics to respect the patient's right to make perfectly legal medical decisions for herself, then you need to find another profession because you have proven that you are incapable of handling the responsibilites of your own.

If you want to help make medical decisions for other people, then go back to medical school. If you want to play God, then go to church. But leave your own morality out of the patient-doctor decision making process because you have no right to play doctor or God behind the counter.

Updated 3/16/2006

God-Doctor says: I'm not denying a woman the right to get the morning after pill. I'll happily recommend another pharmacist who will fill her prescription.

You pharmacists are as spineless as those pro-lifers who are willing to let women murder their babies if they were raped. For God's sake, stand up for your principles and beliefs. If you were involved in a plot to murder someone, but you actually didn't pull the gun, does that still not make you guilty? How can you sleep at night knowing that you contributed to the killing of an innocent life?


Blogger Stardust said...

There are many drugs on the market that can interfere with conception and pregnancy and the pharmacists still fills them. They don't question filling the prescriptions for valium or vicodin addicts. They don't question filling birth control pills or vaginal spermicides. They sell condoms in their stores.

I really wouldn't want to use a pharmacist who cannot do his job professionally and in an unbiased manner. What will happen is that pharmacists with this attitude will simply be putting themselves out of business and people will just go to the big pharmacy chains where most people go already. I also agree, if they have a problem with this line of work, they should go into another line of work.

Thu Mar 16, 12:06:00 PM 2006  

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