Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

PLAN B: Objectors should have to post a notice to that effect

Letter by Donald E. Proctor, Sumner on Feb. 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm with 37 Comments »
February 24, 2012 2:10 pm

Our laws should allow pharmacies to follow their own conscience if, and only if, they are willing to make that conscience known to all. If they don’t want to dispense Plan B medications, they should be required to post a readily recognized notice of such policy at all entryways. The public is then free to decide whether or not they want to patronize that place of business, either to show support or disagreement with such policy.

In small towns that perhaps have only one pharmacy, a couple contemplating a sexual encounter might be well advised to know the policy of their only pharmacy before getting too amorous, especially if pregnancy is not an acceptable situation. I suppose prudent individuals could purchase Plan B medication ahead of time if they are too remotely located.

Individual pharmacists should exercise their right to religious freedom by refusing to work in any pharmacy that has policies contrary to their religious beliefs.

Tags:
,
Leave a comment Comments → 37
  1. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Yo, Donald:

    Requiring stores to post information about products they do not sell is irrational.

    Perhaps you would like it better if the stores who do sell the plan b pill are required to post signs that read:

    “We Support Irresponsible Behavior by Adults and Minors, Buy Your Plan B Pills Here!”

  2. amber424 says:

    Yo Richard:
    So you are saying that people are only in need of Plan B because they are irresponsible? You are right, how dare that girl (fictional of course) go get herself raped!! How dare that married couple not ready for another child allow for their birth control to fail!! Totally unacceptable behavior on their parts! I hope you picked up on the sarcasm.

  3. alindasue says:

    How about we just not require any signs. If a product is popular, most pharmacies would already post whether or not they carry it. If they don’t and if that matters to customers, then the can always ask.

    amber424, by the time a couple realizes that their birth control method has failed, it is too late for Plan B to do any good. It’s meant to be administered during the first day after sex, when pregnancy has not yet actually occurred. Ideally, a couple would have birth control available and in use at the time of sex, if pregnancy is not desired.

    The main uses I can see for Plan B would be for rape victims and women who got themselves so drunk they can’t remember what they did the night before.

  4. One would question whether Plan B is an actual medication since the time involved with a prescription producing doctor visit would negate the time window to take it. Based on that perspective, it could be suggested you’ll likely not find a bottle of 20 with a prescription to take as needed.
    Failed birth control can’t be so prevalent that pharmaceutical companies invested in all that R&D into keeping a few couples child free.
    Needing a quick dose of reassurance to compensate for a night of poor judgement sounds profitable though.
    Until Plan B becomes medically necessary to treat pain, prevent illness, or keep you alive, why should a pharmacy be expected to carry it?

  5. BigR? So being raped is being irresponsible? Seeking an Rx from a physician for a Plan B is irresponsible? Are YOU aware that many medications that are prescribed such as antibiotics, can render the pill ineffective? So even if the patient doubles up with a condom, pregnancy is STILL possible? And rape victims are advised to take a Plan B to ward off possible pregnancy. With 6 in 10 women saying they have been raped, are you suggesting that they go through an additional trauma of giving birth to a rape baby? All the expense to have a baby and then do these people wagging their religious fingers even CARE about the baby once its born?! Where is all the outrage at the poverty level for all these kids on school lunch programs and they have no healthcare? But HEAVEN FORBID there should be a morning after pill because SEX is BAD missy! “You should only rely on ‘ol Mr. Raincoat and if you become preggers, well I had a slicker on Mr. Johnson so I did my part! Too bad for you.”

  6. frankiethomas says:

    I’m sorry alindasue, how long does it take to realize the condom broke?

  7. If a customer has a prescription from a Physician,the Druggist should be required to fill the prescription!If the Druggist cannnot fill the prescription because of the druggists beliefs,then the druggist should have his or her license revolked.The job of filling a prescription is to fill any legal prescription without letting your own moral values preventing you from doing what you are required to do!If that is unaceptable to the druggist,the druggist should find another line of work!

  8. Donald & B-S-R
    The two major needs for Plan-B is for unplanned encounters and unexpected problems (i.e. other birth control measures failed).

  9. frankiethomas says:

    t doesn’t matter WHY the person needs it. The standing-in-judgement is BS. People need medicine for Type 2 diabetes. I am morally opposed to gluttony. Suppose I were pharmacist – I’d love to stand there and say layoff the doughnuts and get off the couch. There’s YOUR scrip. Oh, I’m so sorry, yours is genetic, glandular, I had no idea. You see? The pharmacist doesn’t need to decide oh this one was raped I’m cool with her getting it, but this one is just a slut so I have a moral objection. THIS is why the moral objection is BS. They don’t get to know my business. HOW ARE PEOPLE NOT GETTING THIS?

  10. alindasue says:

    frankiethomas,

    You are right. It doesn’t matter why a person needs a particular product like Plan B. It also doesn’t matter why a particular vendor (pharmacy) would choose not to carry it. If that pharmacy doesn’t carry it, you go somewhere else. (I went to four different stores until I found spermicide in Leavenworth a couple years ago.)

    I’ve seen people say things like ‘what if the woman lives in a small town and doesn’t have a car to travel 20 miles to the next pharmacy?’. What would she do if she cut her hand badly and needed stitches and the closest hospital was in next town too? She’d find a way to get there.

  11. frankiethomas: “t doesn’t matter WHY the person needs it. The standing-in-judgement is BS.”

    This is one point where the arguments go sideways. The pharmacist who chooses NOT to fill prescriptions or orders for contraceptives like Plan B is not making that judgement because he/she is standing in “judgement” of the person who wishes to buy the drugs. Not at all!

    The Pharmacist realizes full well, what the primary purpose of these contraceptives are for, and objects on that basis regardless of who wishes to buy them. The pharmacist is not choosing to sell the product to some people but not others. The pharmacists is simply asking not to be forced to sell the drug to anyone.

    “The person” buying the product is not at issue at all. The primary purpose of the drug, and how that purpose violates deeply held religious beliefs is the only issue.

  12. frankiethomas says:

    But that IS my point. Gluttony is also a sin. This is just the one issue that is feels good to stand in judgement on. This is the one issue that keeps half the population down and enslaved and barefoot and in the kitchen. Spare me the rhetoric. The rest of the world know that ready access to birth control is good for the health of the women in their communities.

  13. alindasue says:

    frankiethomas,

    As you say, gluttony is also a sin.

    If a merchant decides that out of conscious he cannot sell any foods that contain sugar, should he be forced to stock M&Ms? Or we can look at it the other way around, if the state decides everyone needs to eat healthy, can they force all the stores in the state to refrain from selling anything resembling candy?

    A store or two choosing not to sell Plan B is not going to keep women “enslaved and barefoot and in the kitchen”. Give us women better credit than that! Most of us are able to handle our “birth control” needs before Plan B would be needed, making it a very limited use drug.

    While it makes business sense for most pharmacies to stock a couple doses of Plan B, telling pharmacists that they MUST stock it is like telling all bars and nightclubs that they MUST have vending machines that dispense condoms and spermicide (one is only half effective without the other) – just on the off chance a customer might need some.

    Given Plan B’s use as an emergency contraceptive, it would make more sense to mandate that publicly funded hospitals and police stations (where rape victims would go for help) have the drug available, and give merchants (pharmacies) a SUGGESTION to carry it.

  14. alindasue says:

    frankiethomas said, “I’m sorry alindasue, how long does it take to realize the condom broke?”

    That comes back to giving us women at least some credit for intelligence!

    A condom is the man’s birth control. Unless the woman has been raped, one would think that she has taken her own measures too. Most female forms of birth control won’t show signs of “failure” until it is too late for Plan B to do any good.

    The only two female forms of birth control that might “tear” are the female condom and the diaphram. It’s unlikely that his condom and hers will break at the same time.

    I’m not against the use of birth control – and since I know how Plan B works and know it’s not an abortive, I’m not against the sale of Plan B either. I am against forcing a merchant to purchase and stock a product that he doesn’t want to stock, whatever his reason.

    I find myself wondering who in our legislature owns stock in (or is in the back pocket of) Teva Woman’s Health, Inc.

  15. frankiethomas – the man should realize immediately if/when a condom broke – the woman would only know if the man told her, or if she made a habit of inspecting used condoms.

  16. alindasue – what do you have against requiring pharmacies to provide full disclosure of medicines they refuse to sell?

    The American “consumer” of medical services is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to making an informed “purchase” of anything that involves medicine – we are bombarded by ads touting doctors and hospitals, etc. but we are not provided with an easy side by side comparison of prices (not to say anything about just how much of the non-covered costs they are willing to write off).

    To defend a pharmacy’s “right” to not sell a certain medicine and then not inform the public is, once again, about protecting business by limiting the consumer’s access to information.

  17. alindasue says:

    beerBoy said, “alindasue – what do you have against requiring pharmacies to provide full disclosure of medicines they refuse to sell?”

    I think it is good customer service policy to post a sign stating that they don’t have or carry a popular drug in stock, so that customers don’t have to stand in line and find out at the counter…

    …but that’s not what we are talking about here, is it? We are talking about special interest groups demanding that such signs be posted only for the one particular drug (presumably so they can know with less effort which pharmacies to sue or picket.)

    beerBoy also said, “The American “consumer” of medical services is at a huge disadvantage… but we are not provided with an easy side by side comparison of prices (not to say anything about just how much of the non-covered costs they are willing to write off).”

    You are correct. The American consumer is at a disadvantage, but when it comes to all controlled drugs, not just Plan B.

    We are at a disadvantage not only when it comes to drug prices, but also when it comes to insurance coverage. For instance with one of my “maintenance” medications, I’m required to go through the insurance’s mail order pharmacy if they are going to cover it. They pay 40%, which leaves me paying about $60. However, since the price they are figuring that 40% on is considerably higher than the cash price is at a local pharmacy, they really are only “paying” around $10 or 14% of the actual drug cost.

    The only way to combat that I can see would be to require “car dealer sticker” type disclosure be provided for each and every drug pharmacies carry. While I’d love to see that available (for viewing online at the very least), I don’t see it happening any time soon.

  18. “If they [pharmacies] don’t want to dispense Plan B medications, they should be required to post a readily recognized notice of such policy at all entryways.”

    Why stop at Plan B meds?

    All pharmacies should BY LAW, be required to list every single drug and product, currently available worldwide, that the pharmacy does not currently stock on its shelves. All the thousands, possibly tens or even hundreds of thousands of different products it doesn’t currently have available for sale at that pharmacy should be posted on a list at the entrance of the pharmacy, and…

    every single customer should be required BY LAW to read every single item on that list BEFORE the customer is allowed to enter the pharmacy.

    Yah! That’s a good idea!

    P.S. And the list should be randomized, instead of alphabetical, so a customer can’t just skipp down the list to find Plan B in the P’s.

  19. alindasue says:

    muckibr said, “P.S. And the list should be randomized, instead of alphabetical, so a customer can’t just skipp down the list to find Plan B in the P’s.”

    The list will be long enough that we don’t need to add to the burden by randomizing the names – BUT since some drugs go by several different brand names, they should all be listed by their generic drug names to avoid confusion (never mind that the prescription in your hand lists a brand name with the signature on the “substitutions permitted” line.) Plan B would actually be listed under L for Levonorgestrel 1.5 mg.

    As I said already, a pharmacy putting up a sign letting customers know that they don’t carry a popular product (or don’t currently have it in stock) is good customer service. However, requiring pharmacies to list every single drug and/or formulate that they don’t stock can be, as you point out, quite ridiculous. It would be easier for the customer to just call the pharmacy to see if they have the particular needed drug in stock prior to going down there.

  20. Thank you, frankiethomas, for making the rational points in this thread.

    To the detractors:
    You entirely miss the point that it is a time-sensitive medication, and that a conscientious objection is a systematic obstruction to supply that may make it widely unavailable without prior notice, as opposed to a random out-of-stock case, or wide spread problem of supplies or price that will be announced in the mainstream information channels for anyone interested.

    Therefore a disclaimer seems appropriate, although, in my opinion, it is still not adequate. I say, do tier licensing: “conscience-based pharmacies” and “real pharmacies”. Let the market sort them out.

  21. commoncents says:

    Stop taking the point so literally. The point of the statement is that many consumers prefer to spend their money on suppliers/vendors that share their belief systems. It’s no different than someone refusing to shop at Walmart for their business practices or another person only choosing companies that display the cross in their yellow page advertising. In this case it’s not quite so obvious…however, a quick telephone call to the pharmacy would do the trick and the shopper can continue to shop, or cease to shop, as they please.

    And please don’t muddy the waters with the “currently not in stock” argument. This is about continued refusal to stock based upon religious beliefs of the vendor that has been ruled legal. Any other argument is a red herring.

    Personally, if a pharmacy chooses to not stock the plan b drug that is their perogative and I’m 100% ok with it. However, if I look down an aisle and see a row of condoms then I do take issue with that decision. I prefer my medical needs being met by those who understand the products they are dispensing. I may still buy a candy bar from that outfit but they will not be filling any of my prescriptions. Plan B is not RU486.

  22. Pecksbadboy says:

    Let have them post signs that they do not sell condoms because it is against Catholic’s belief.

    In Muslim countries, they do not dispense medicine for sexually transmitted diseases or alcoholism treatment.

    Why, because it is against their beliefs, not that it is against any law?

    This is America and here we MUST do all the law allows not “what we feel like.”

    We are founded on tolerance for all not just “what we feel like.”

  23. commoncents says:

    Don’t quite get Richard’s posit here…somehow a condom, the pill, a diaphragm, and any other method from the plethora of birth control options are considered responsible but somehow Plan B is irresponsible simply based upon when the method of preventing the pregnancy takes place? Let’s all say it out loud…You are not pregnant until the egg attaches to the uterine wall. I can understand post attachment being considered abortive but not pre-implantation. Sorry, the little swimmers just missed the egg. Something that happens 3 out of every 4 months when people are TRYING to become preggers.

  24. Pecks… said: “This is America and here we MUST do all the law allows not “what we feel like.”

    OKAY! Now we’re cookin’!

    Somebody, ANYBODY, please cite the specific American Law, either federal, state or local, that says:

    “All pharmacies MUST stock and provide birth control drugs and contraceptives, including Plan B.”

    If that is THE LAW, then YES every pharmacy in that jurisdiction in America must obey it. But I don’t believe there is such a law. If there is, then PROVE IT with a specific citation.

  25. alindasue says:

    roussir said, “You entirely miss the point that it is a time-sensitive medication, and that a conscientious objection is a systematic obstruction…”

    Many medications are “time-sensitive” including the insulin I take. In fact, Plan B has a good three day window which makes it even less time sensitive than my medication. Three days is plenty of time to call the next pharmacy on the list. A store or two choosing not to carry a product is hardly “systematic obstruction”.

    Some people require custom formulated drugs, but I only know of a couple stores in Tacoma that sells them. Is it “systematic obstruction” that all the other pharmacies in town are not set up to dispense them?

    It’s the same thing when you think about it…

  26. In Muslim countries, they do not dispense medicine for sexually transmitted diseases or alcoholism treatment.

    Specific countries please – with supporting evidence.

  27. Of course – the real reason why Pharmacies don’t want to publicize their decision to not carry Plan B is that they believe they would lose more business in protest than they would gain in support.

    Now….can any Market true believer in “voting with your dollar” explain again why the consumer is better off without having easy access to that information?

  28. Before answering any of beerBoy’s deflections, we need an answer first to my question:

    Somebody, ANYBODY, please cite the specific American Law, either federal, state or local, that says:

    “All pharmacies MUST stock and provide birth control drugs and contraceptives, including Plan B.”

    see my comment above at 1:26 PM.

    If there is no such law, then there is no justifiable or legal reason to advertise which products are not stocked in which pharmacies.

  29. The government shouldn’t dictate what each pharmacy should carry! It’s their choice – free enterprise! Just like any other prescription, Plan B scripts can be brought to the local pharmacy. If they don’t carry it, the pharmacist can suggest what pharmacy they might try to find it. Not all pharmacies routinely carry certain very expensive antibiotics or immune therapy drugs. It wouldn’t be profitable for all pharmacies to mix “compounded” medications. Some don’t carry a full range of over the counter Aspirin products. It IS and SHOULD REMAIN the pharmacists choice!

  30. The irony of someone who claims a screen name that brags about how big and swinging his “richard” is posting this “We Support Irresponsible Behavior by Adults and Minors, Buy Your Plan B Pills Here!”

  31. Before answering any of beerBoy’s deflections

    Nice non-argument by dismissal…..

    What, exactly, do you see as a “deflection”?

  32. alindasue says:

    beerBoy said, “Now….can any Market true believer in “voting with your dollar” explain again why the consumer is better off without having easy access to that information?”

    There is already easy access to whether a pharmacist carries Plan B or any other drug – one that’s even easier than going all the way down to the store and looking for a sign. It’s called using the telephone to ask the store, just like you would with any other product. If they do or don’t have it in stock, they will tell you so.

  33. beerBoy, simply that your new questions deflected away from my prior question that apparently nobody can answer, which is:

    Somebody, ANYBODY, please cite the specific American Law, either federal, state or local, that says:

    “All pharmacies MUST stock and provide birth control drugs and contraceptives, including Plan B.”

    see my comment above on 2/27 @ 1:26 PM.

    My contention is that if there is no such law as that, then NO ONE has any grounds to require any pharmacy to list what it does or does not sell. Pharmacies are free, by lack of such a law, to stock what they want to and to not stock what they don’t want to, until there is a law that says otherwise. Is that correct or not?

  34. There ARE regulatory laws concerning the operation of pharmacies and you can find them in the RCW and WAC online.

    The reason for the recent court case – a lawsuit filed by Stormans against the State of Washington (people think that it was between Planned Parenthood and Stormans because of bad language in reporting and the legal briefs)- was filed because of the exercise of the interpretation of a pharmacy’s responsibility to the community, due to said laws.

    For obvious reasons, the language of the laws are not as simple as the simple minded are demanding, but nonetheless there are laws on the books and enough gray area that a fight ensued. (wonder what this has cost the State? I’m sure glad that the Right isn’t into frivolous lawsuits)

    I think we can be certain that there will be consideration given to these laws and a tightening of the language so that someone cannot play “first amendment” games with one contraceptive over another that does essentially the same job.

    In a day and age where governments are forcing women to have ultrasound exams, not advised by their doctors, before they can have the necessary medical procedure they are seeking, I don’t see why a law can’t be passed that a pharmacy who is unwilling to provide one certain emergency contraceptive to post a sign accordingly. That would save the patient time and provide them needed information to make their decision.

    They claim the ultrasounds are to assist the patient with their decision……

    Give the women voters a major election to make adjustments in representation and some time to lobby said representation, and I’m sure we’ll see all sorts of new laws to protect women as health care patients.

  35. wildcelticrose says:

    Legitimacy is in the eyes of the reader muckibr…

    The last post I read from ImLarry cites the RCW and makes rational and valid points.

    I have however not found the same when reading your posts…

  36. wildcelticrose says:

    So if a woman is raped or the condom breaks and she doesn’t have a choice of pharmacies in her rural area, she can’t get the medication she needs in the very short time frame required.

    This is another slippery slope. Suppose the only pharmacist in town doesn’t think that any woman should be on birth control? Suppose they think that those who have HIV/AIDS are being punished by god and should not receive their life saving drugs?

    If pharmacists don’t want to follow the rules/regulations/laws that apply their well paid profession, perhaps they should find a different line of work that allows them to “speak for god”.

  37. wild… “The last post I read from ImLarry cites the RCW and makes rational and valid points. I have however not found the same when reading your posts…”

    I can only conclude you have not read many of the comments posted on these blogs. Here’s a portion of one of mine from another thread,”RCW 70.54.050
Exposing contagious disease — Penalty.”

    Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/2012/02/23/pharmaceutical-hypocracy/#storylink=cpy

    However, I think you would do better to read as many of the comments from the other, to get a full appreciation for that level of discourse.

    Slainte!

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0