Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Prescription malpractice

Mrs. CaliBlogger has two herniated discs and so suffers chronic back pain. Because of this she has been prescribed various pain-relievers and other medications over the years. It's been our experience that the many pharmacists we've dealt with over the years have been unfailingly helpful and sympathetic when dealing with her prescribed medications.

But will it always be so? What if a pharmacist decides that the opiates or derivatives she's been prescribed are morally wrong? Far-fetched? I might once have thought so. But I do so no longer.

In yet another attack by the hypocritical immoral moralists of the "religious" right, an increasing number of pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. These are the same sort of people who, if the woman became pregnant, would scream murder if she then sought an abortion. But then logic has never been their strong suit.

Happily, in another "why I'm glad I live in California" moment, the legislature here has before it two bills which would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions or face penalties for not doing so.

Two Democratic bills pending in the Legislature would require druggists to dispense all lawful drugs. Both proposals would allow California's 25,000 pharmacists to demur only if the store could ensure that the prescription would be filled by another without excessive inconvenience to the patient.
What amazes me is the silence of the medical community in the face of this attack on their professional credibility.

What amazes me further is the silence of pharmacists themselves. Clearly those who are refusing to fill orders for prescribed medicines are just a tiny fraction of the many ethical professionals who assist those in need. Were I a member of that profession I'd be working tirelessly to weed out those individuals who are not fulfilling their professional obligations and I would certainly not be leaving it to potentially wayward governmental regulation.

We've all seen the chaos that can arise when government gets too involved with medical treatment. The American Pharmaceutical Association is doing its upstanding members a disservice by remaining silent on this issue.

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