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Nampa Pharmacist Denies Patient Life-saving Drug

Contacts

Kristen Glundberg-Prossor
Director of Media Relations
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest
Office phone: 206-328-7714
Kristen.Glundberg-Prossor@ppgnw.org


Published: 01.12.11| Updated: 01.13.11

Boise—Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) has filed a letter of complaint with the Idaho Board of Pharmacy regarding the actions of a Nampa Walgreens pharmacist, who on November 6, 2010, refused to fill a prescription ordered by a Boise-based PPGNW nurse practitioner. The prescription was for a PPGNW patient requiring Methergine.  Methergine is commonly used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion. 

As described in the complaint, the pharmacist inquired if the patient needed the drug for post-abortion care.  In keeping with federal laws that require confidentiality of health information, the nurse practitioner refused to answer the question.  The pharmacist then stated that if the nurse practitioner did not disclose that information, she would not fill the prescription.  When asked if the pharmacist could refer the nurse practitioner to another pharmacy that would fill the prescription, the pharmacist hung up.  PPGNW public affairs staff has since contacted Walgreens’ Corporate office, and corrective action was taken with the Nampa pharmacist.

“We appreciate the prompt corrective action taken in this matter.  However, this incident signifies a more systemic attack on a woman’s right to access health care,” said Rebecca Poedy, PPGNW Vice-President of External Affairs.

During the 2010 Idaho Legislative Session, Senator Chuck Winder of Eagle sponsored legislation giving pharmacists and other health care providers the right to refuse to dispense abortifacient drugs and emergency contraception.

“While Methergine is neither an abortifacient drug nor a form of emergency contraception, PPGNW is concerned that the Nampa pharmacist used the law as reason to usurp our patient’s immediate health care needs with her own personal beliefs.  Had our nurse not found another pharmacist to dispense the drug, she would certainly have needed emergency care.  Luckily our patient lived in an urban area like Nampa.  I can only imagine the peril she would have faced had she lived in a small rural area with only one pharmacist,” said Poedy.

Since the passage of Senate bill 1353, PPGNW has heard numerous reports of women being denied emergency contraception.  While the law gives pharmacists the right to intervene in a woman’s decision-making regarding emergency contraception, this incident represents a flagrant abuse of an already intrusive and overreaching – and medically inaccurate – law.

When Governor Otter sent his official signing letter to Senate President Little, he stated he would consider readdressing the law should it be abused.  “Planned Parenthood believes it has the evidence the Governor needs to follow through with his promise, and reexamine the law in the upcoming legislative session,” said Poedy.  “We warned the legislature that providers would exploit the refusal legislation at the expense of women’s health, and now we have clear evidence of abuse,” said Poedy.  “It is time to reconsider the bill.”

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Planned Parenthood VOTES! Idaho (PPVI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating Idahoans and policy-makers about reproductive health issues. PPVI lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.

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