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Pharmacy Board sticks to its guns after uproar over Plan B contraception

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Nov. 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm with 4 Comments »
November 4, 2010 3:11 pm

Input during a public comment period fell overwhelmingly against changing the rules that ban pharmacies from refusing to dispense drugs. Gov. Chris Gregoire is opposed, too.

But the state Board of Pharmacy makes the decision, and it agreed today on a 3-2 vote to move ahead with changes.

At issue is a rule the board set in 2007 at Gregoire’s urging. It requires pharmacies to dispense all legal drugs.

A group of druggists who out of moral opposition don’t stock Plan B, the morning-after contraceptive, sued the state. Their lawsuit has dragged on and put pressure on the board to relent.

“We can’t afford more lawsuits,” said board member Dan Connolly, who made the motion to move forward. “If we don’t change the current rule, this board is going to always be in litigation.”

A trial set to begin in July was put on hold after the board’s lawyers in Attorney General Rob McKenna‘s office negotiated a legal stipulation with the suing pharmacists. The stipulation says the board intends to adopt a rule allowing druggists to refer patients to a different pharmacy, “including for conscientious reasons.”

Board members today asked staff for information to help them craft a rule allowing pharmacists to refer patients to someone else for “time-sensitive” medication. That includes Plan B and hundreds of other drugs, members said.

The board agreed unanimously in June to start the rule-making process. Today, after a public comment period that brought in 5,359 comments &html; including 4,448 in opposition to a change &html; board members Rebecca Hille and Vandana Slatter voted ‘no.’

Chairman Gary Harris also spoke against a change, but he does not vote except in case of ties. Christopher Barry and Fircrest pharmacist Al Linggi joined Connolly in supporting a change. Kim Ekker did not attend the meeting.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. chip98404 says:

    Again we have legislation by threat of litigation instead of a democratic process.

  2. EatonvilleTaxPayer says:

    Put yourself in the shoes of an owner or pharmacist: If it was against your religious or personal belief to aide in anyway in the death of a fetus, would you want to be forced to participate?

    There should be NO law that forces any person or business owner to carry drugs that end the life of a fetus. I do not believe in any form of abortion, morning after pills, etc. and that is my personal choice, but I believe EACH person has the right to make this choice for themselves. I would not sell a drug like that and there should not be any law that forces me too either.

    Glad to see they are going to change the rules so pharmacies are not required to carry drugs that go against their beliefs. It is the right thing to do.

    There are plenty of places and clinics where people who want these drugs can go and find them readily available. Let them shop there.

  3. banksyfan says:

    Interesting. In this poster’s statement she/he says “I do not believe in any form of abortion…that is my PERSONAL choice.” and then states, “EACH person has the right to make this choice for themselves.” A personal choice is just that, personal. Your job is not “personal” it is a service for the public. You agree they can make their own choice, it is your JOB to provide the means to their personal choice. That was a very contradictory statement. Go to work, do your job, don’t put your personal mumbo jumbo on me.

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