Pharmacist Refusals: A Threat to Women's Health

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Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1557-1558
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114466

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Pharmacist refusals to dispense--and in some cases to refer or transfer--prescriptions for contraception threaten women's access to basic health care both in the United States and around the world. In the United States, this problem appears to be growing; increasing reports of pharmacist refusals have surfaced in the media, and numerous states have introduced bills that would amend pharmacy codes to permit pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception. This Policy Forum reviews current legal standards and professional ethics that govern the practice of pharmacy; this review, together with an assessment of the harm to women's health, dictates that women must have access to contraception at the pharmacy without delay, harassment, or other interference.