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When a Pharmacist Refuses to Fill a Prescription, What Rights do You Have?

October 30th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. Under American Pharmacy Organization guidelines, a pharmacist is permitted to refuse to fill a prescription based on religious beliefs. However, what happens after a refusal largely depends on where you live in the U.S. Different states have different laws regarding patients’ rights. Not all states have laws and regulations in place, meaning that it is up to an individual company to decide what to do. In states where laws are in place, companies and pharmacists face sanctions or suspension if they fail to obey the law.

However, in most cases, if a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription, the prescription must either be handed off to another pharmacist in the store or it must be transferred to another pharmacy where the patient can receive the medication. Failure to do this is in violation of a patient’s rights. Many patients may not even be aware that a pharmacist can legally deny filling a prescription. Many more individuals are fighting back when they have been denied prescriptions by taking their cases to court.

CNN recently reported on a case where a woman suffering from a miscarriage was refused medication from a pharmacist citing religious objections. The woman reports that the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription on religious grounds, and she is currently working with the ACLU to pursue a case in court to ensure that other women going through a similar experiences don’t face the same challenges. The woman needed the drug misoprostol, which serves many purposes. It can end a pregnancy, but it can also treat women who are suffering from a miscarriage. The woman explains that it was “difficult” to be denied the medication she needed and then to find herself not believed by the pharmacist.

NBC News reported on another case where a woman was denied birth control because the pharmacist held religious beliefs against its use. In another case, a transgender woman was denied access to hormones.

So, what can you do if you’ve been denied a prescription at a pharmacy? According to the National Woman’s Law Center, you can file a complaint with your state’s pharmacy board, tell the press, and possibly speak to a lawyer if you feel that your denial of medication put your health at risk.

The The Bowling Law Firm are pharmacy error lawyers in New Orleans, Louisiana who believe that patients have the right to have their medications dispensed accurately. Being denied a medication you need can be humiliating. Not only are you being denied a medicine that you need, and that a doctor has determined you need, but you may also suffer from scrutiny by a stranger at a moment where you are quite vulnerable. The The Bowling Law Firm is closely watching how states respond to new laws and is monitoring how the Supreme Court is responding to cases where workers’ sincerely held beliefs might come in conflict with client care.

The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

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