Published Online: Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Pharmacists in Illinois have accused the state's governor of insulting their profession and belittling pharmacy's contribution to the health care system. The accusation was part of a dispute that has been brewing for nearly a year since Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an emergency order requiring pharmacies in Illinois to dispense prescription medicines "without delay."That policy was aimed at preventing pharmacists from using ethical or religious considerations as a basis for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives.

Blagojevich added fuel to the fire late last year during a televised interview in which he equated the pharmacist's role in dispensing drugs to "checking out groceries in a supermarket."

Calling the governor's remarks "patently unfair,"representatives of the Illinois Pharmacists Association said that those statements "gravely insult the profession's contribution to health care and the patient care services pharmacists provide."

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