APhA Defends "Conscience Clauses"

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Public outrage over the refusal ofsome pharmacists to dispense drugs forabortion or birth control, plus the recentcondemnation of pharmacist "conscienceclauses" by the American MedicalAssociation's House of Delegates,has prompted pharmacy leaders todefend the right of pharmacists to "stepaway from participating in activity towhich they have personal objections."

In reaffirming its position on theissue, the American Pharmacists Association(APhA) said that it "supportsthe pharmacists' ability to choose notto fill a prescription based on moral orethical values." Yet, it also "supportsthe establishment of systems to ensurethat the patient's health care needs areserved."

"Despite the alarming headlines,pharmacists and physicians agree" that"patients should receive their medicationswithout harassment and interference,"APhA Executive Vice PresidentJohn Gans said. By the same token,however, he added that, "just as physiciansare not required to provide allmedical services, pharmacists shouldnot be required to provide all pharmacyservices."

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.