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The newly hired pharmacist - Case Study Example

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The Newly Hired Pharmacist Introduction Emergency contraception is a safe approach for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy that could result from unprotected sexual intercourse. Emergency contraception is to be taken immediately after an event of unprotected sex, and is accepted as a legitimate method for fertility control…
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The Newly Hired Pharmacist Introduction Emergency contraception is a safe approach for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy that could result from unprotected sexual intercourse. Emergency contraception is to be taken immediately after an event of unprotected sex, and is accepted as a legitimate method for fertility control. However, based on religious and moral beliefs that such infertility control is as good as abortion, a number of pharmacists refuse to dispense emergency contraception in what is termed as conscientious objection that is supported “conscience clause” laws of some states in the in the United States of America (Feder, 2006). The Relevant Issues For decades some pharmacists have chosen to use moral convictions steeped in Judeo-Christian ethic as a right in their dispensing of medications (Wernow &Grant, 2008). Some states in the USA give legitimacy to this stand of these pharmacists. Yet only six percent of pharmacists are likely to adopt such a stand and that too from their religious beliefs (Davidson et al, 2010). Even so this right of the pharmacists runs counter to the principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, and beneficence in patient rights for the dispensing of legitimately required drugs. It is this opposing stances combined with the lack of uniform laws across the USA that has led to a controversy over the use of “conscience clause” laws by the pharmacists (Weisberg & Fraser, 2009). The Legal Position There are no current laws on whether a pharmacist should dispense emergency contraceptives, or may refuse to do so. In the absence of such laws existing state laws are applicable to whether a pharmacist may refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives. Not all states have enacted such laws. The states of Alabama, New Hampshire, and Vermont have chosen to remain silent on the issue. The laws of the other states favor the right of the pharmacists to refuse dispensing emergency contraceptives, while the others favor the rights of the patients to emergency contraceptives. For example the Arizona state laws prevent prohibition of any agent or employee of a private healthcare institution from refusing to provide contraceptives procedures, when the refusal is based on religious or moral objections. On the other hand the state laws of Illinois require that pharmacists fill valid prescriptions for emergency contraceptives on an immediate basis (Feder, 2006). Recommendation There is a vacuum in Alabama laws on whether a pharmacist may or may not refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives. There are no laws for the CEO to fall back on to resolve the issue of the pharmacist’s refusal to dispense emergency contraceptives. The CEO would be best advised to choose a path that neither contravenes patients’ rights for dispensing legitimate prescriptions for emergency contraceptives, not does it run against the religious and moral beliefs of the pharmacist. The Nevada state laws on this issue provide the solution. The Nevada state law requires pharmacists to immediately transfer prescriptions to another pharmacist or pharmacy (Feder, 2006). The CEO should make it mandatory for the pharmacist to transfer the prescription to another pharmacist, when patients insist on emergency contraceptives. He could also make a posting to the Ob/Gyn department of the hospital to route emergency contraceptive prescriptions to the cooperative pharmacists, as only a minority of pharmacists are likely to refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives. By taking such an approach, the CEO resolves the issue without trampling on the rights of the patients and the right of the pharmacist. Literary References Davidson, L. A., Pettis, C. T., Joiner, A. J., Cook, D. M. & Klugman, C. M. Religion and conscientious objection: a survey of pharmacists' willingness to dispense medications. Social Science Medicine, 71(1), 161-165. Feder, J. (2006). Federal and State Laws Regarding Pharmacists Who Refuse to Dispense Contraceptives. In William, S. Jefferson (Ed.), State and Local Government Issues (pp.87-92). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Wernow, R. J. &Grant, D. G. (2008). Dispensing with Conscience: A Legal and Ethical Assessment. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 42(11), 1669-1678. Weisberg, E. & Fraser, I. S. (2009). Rights to emergency contraception. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 106(2), 160-163 Read More
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