Wal-mart, one of the largest pharmacies with 3,700 nationwide, has finally agreed to carry the Plan B emergency contraception pill.
That said, there is still the ongoing problem of pharamacists who can choose not to fill the Plan B, or any other item that they oppose as a “matter of conscience”. The American Pharmaceutical Assocation (APhA) supports this right with a proviso: that another pharmacist needs to be ready to step in, or a nearby pharmacy is able to fill such prescriptions. The problem was made worse because Wal-mart is the only pharmacy in many smaller areas, and with Plan B time is of the essence. In several statements, APhA representatives have sounded a consistent theme: if a pharmacist is not going to fill certain prescriptions, the pharmacist has the obligation to make arrangements in advance to “proactively ” direct the patient to a viable source. It could be another pharacist on duty, it could be an arrangement with another pharmacy, or even for the physician to have the drug on hand (gee, thanks). Walgreens has fired pharmacists for refusing to fill these prescriptions, and some states have taken action against such pharmacists. Matters got completely out of hand when some pharmacists took the scrip and held it hostage, both refusing to dispense AND refusing to give it back to the patient.
If someone is going to have “matters of conscience”, get out of healthcare. There are so many things to object to: take one’s pick. Pharmacists did not help their reputation by taking these actions, and the APhA has been rather under the radar on this (try finding a clear statement on their website).