Thursday, 25 March 2010

Need contraception? Better hope your pharmacist believes in it then...

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Oh dear. The BBC reports that the General Pharmaceutical Council, a new regulatory body for pharmacists that is set to replace the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, has decided to retain a "conscience clause" that permits pharmacists to refuse to supply customers with medicine and products that they object to on grounds of their religious beliefs. Such products are, of course, contraceptives. Apparently further consultation is due before the code of conduct is adopted later this year, but it seems pharmacists will be able to refuse to supply products like condoms and the Pill providing that they tell you where to find the nearest pharmacist who doesn't want to restrict your reproductive freedom because of their beliefs.

Utter madness.


Chain Bear said...

Weeelllll... you can sell what you like can't you? If you own the pharmacy surely you can choose not to stock what you like for whatever reason you like.

Eiskrystal said...

As far as I recall it's not the stocking. Anyone who serves you, even if your doctor requested it for you can tell you they won't give you it on religious grounds.

It is at best a major inconvenience if someone tries it. It also highlights how pathetically spineless the Pharm.Council guys are for allowing this nonesense.

Ignazio said...

Ok so next time I go to Tesco I won't be sold bacon on account of who's at the till?

Legal stuff should not be witheld on moral grounds, especially if the moral grounds are not everybody's moral. I guess the best bet in this case is to go spend your pennies somewhere else. When the owner's pocket will feel the hurt, then the morals might get revamped.

Big Dan said...

Is this really a problem? Pharmacists provide a free market service, albeit one that is linked to public service. If you don't like the service, you go elsewhere.

I think talk of "restricting reproductive freedom", as though immediate access to contraception is a basic human right, is out of order. You always have the freedom to keep it in your pants / keep your legs shut. (Except in the case of the morning after pill, granted.)

Little Rich said...

We shouldn't necessarily be thinking only in terms of contraception here, at least when considering the pill.

The pill is a means to control levels of certain hormones, to whatever end. Denying service to a sufferer of endometriosis, or similar disorders such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is more than just an inconvenience.

Rather than "Oh, I'll not be able to have unprotected sex for a few days while I find a different chemist", it's more a case of "Oh, I'll not be able to get out of bed for a few days while I'm suffering bouts of excruciating pain".

Gordon Goblin said...

Is there a black-list of these "Pharmacists"?

As a card carrying male I am unlkely to find them by being denied the pill, but I want to deny them my custom.

If people refuse to attend these "consciencious" pharmacys perhaps the parent company will emply pharmicists who are willing to actually do their job!

macpsych said...

I second the call for knowing who/where these pharmacists are, so I can withhold my business.

In response to 'Big Dan' the above commenter, they do indeed provide a free market service, but not everyone lives in a town or city and has a list of pharmacies to choose from. And a woman shouldn't have to explain what the pill is for, never mind be asked to explain or justify it.

Pharmacists should keep their religious beliefs at home, or find a new job.