Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Monday Morning

Fell asleep too early last night and had mad lingering dreams into the early morning. Finally propped myself out of bed around 5:00am. I've been sitting in front of the office window as the western sky has gone from a uniform indigo blue, to pale-striped blue-pink-violet. I love that early morning summer sky color; early morning winter is just black changing to grey. Am reminded how quickly this summer has gone and that we're on the downslope of these lovely light days already. I demand the summer days last into September to make up for the craptacular June we had!

I've also been thinking on the issue of conviction, personal belief, and living within your beliefs. For some reason, on my various flights this summer I came to ponder the issue of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions on the basis that it offends their personal beliefs. Why is this tolerated? In any other job, an employee who refused to do what they were hired to do (dispense medication to patients as ordered by their doctors) would be invited to find another job. Would employers stand for it if vegan grocery store clerks refused to ring up customers who wanted to buy meat, milk, or eggs? Would we say the bar tender was doing a good job is he refused to mix drinks for his patrons? How about police officers who refused to write tickets? I understand that people have convictions, I have them myself which is why I don't have a job clubbing baby seals. If my job required me to club baby seals, I would expect that in order to collect my paycheck, baby seal clubbing would be involved. If I could not bring myself to club baby seals , I do not expect that I would remain employed by Baby Seal Clubbers, Inc. Why is it even a question of "what to do" with the pharmacists?


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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Taking the example of vegan store clerks refusing to ring up meat and milk purchases, when my wife worked at vegetarian restaurants and grocery stores the majority of the staff were vegetarians; you gravitate to a job that supports your beliefs. So if a pharmacist doesn't want to fill birth control prescriptions, he should open a pharmacy called Jesus Saves Pharmacy with a sign out front saying "We only dispense medicines in accordance with our theology" and have done with it.


Blogger Nick Says:

The difference is mostly to do with the fact that pharmacists mostly own their own businesses. So they can do what they like.

While I'd be appalled if someone refused to sell my partner the pill based on their theological beliefs, I can't pretend that I'm consistant on this. If a group of printers refused to print a neo-nazi magazine, I'd applaud them. I can think of lots of other examples.

Also, pharmacists do this more or less everyday. Plenty of pharmacists in New Zealand refuse to sell people prodcts with pseudoephadrine in them in order to stop them making methanphetamine out of it. There's no law that requires them to do this, and there's certainly no law that specifies that I can't buy it and my dad can as is the practice. Is that right or wrong?

Blogger Nikchick Says:

Nick's comments are interesting. I don't think American pharmacies are primarily privately owned, small business establishments. American pharmacies are largely part of huge multi-national chains: Walgreens, CVS, Longs, and of course the "everything" chains like Wal*Mart. Many of those employers have established policies protecting the "rights" of their pharmacists by allowing them to refuse to fill certain prescriptions, or by refusing to carry certain medicines at all. Apparently states have passed laws allowing this sort of behavior as well.

In thinking about this particular issue, I was considering the situation as described in this article in the Seattle Times.


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