When pharmacists refuse to dispense prescriptions

Katrina A. Bramstedt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The dilemma of conscientious objection by US pharmacists has yet to be resolved. The issue was thrust into the mass-media spotlight when a pharmacist in Texas rejected a rape victim's prescription for emergency contraception (the morning-after pill). The pharmacist argued that dispensing the drug was a “violation of morals”.1 Further cases have since been reported and include such acts as intimidation2 and confiscation of the prescription by the pharmacist.3 Pharmacists argue that they are a health-care provider and, like doctors, should have the right to refuse to participate in services they morally object to.4 In fact, the policy of the American Pharmacists Association permits pharmacists to object to dispensing drugs but requires them to ensure another pharmacist is available to dispense or transfer the prescription to another pharmacy. Further, the Association argues that this approach is “seamless” and the patient is “not aware that the pharmacist is stepping away from the situation”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1220
Number of pages2
Issue number9518
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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