PHARMACISTS SUE TO BLOCK PLAN B RULE IN WASHINGTON STATE

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Several pharmacists in Washington state have filed suit toblock new regulations that require the sale of emergency contraception.They contend that the mandate violates their moraland religious beliefs.

The pharmacists? lawsuit has the backing of the state?sRoman Catholic bishops, who claim that government regulatorsare wrongly forcing pharmacists to administer medical treatments they considerimmoral. At the heart of the controversy is levonorgestrel, the so-called ?morning-afterpill? (known as Plan B). This drug is an emergency contraceptive that can lower the riskof pregnancy by as much as 89% if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

The Washington state rule under fire enables pharmacists with personal objectionsto a drug to get a coworker to fill the prescription. The regulation also states, however,that the patient must be able to get the prescription in the same pharmacy visit.Additionally, the rule requires pharmacies in Washington to order new supplies of adrug if a patient asks for one that is not in stock, and it prohibits pharmacists fromharassing patients seeking emergency contraception.