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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rossi Supports Pharmacists’ Right to Refuse Patients

posted by on November 15 at 8:52 AM

In the wake of the federal court decision that suspended a state rule requiring pharmacists to dispense Plan B, I’ve been trying and trying to get GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi to state his position on the issue.

Seattle Times reporter David Postman got the answer from Rossi today.

Here’s Rossi’s spokeswoman’s answer:

Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait told me by e-mail:

Rossi supports the decision by Judge Leighton and believes that pharmacists should not be forced to do something that is against their conscience or religious beliefs.
In 2006, the state Pharmacy Board was prepared to adopt regulations, supported by the Washington State Pharmacy Association, that protected the right of conscience. Unfortunately, Gregoire refused to let the board do its job and interfered. She threatened the board to see things her way and they ultimately complied with her heavy-handed tactics.

The federal judge put the brakes on Gregoire’s strong-armed approach and protected the constitutional rights of pharmacy professionals following their consciences.

For Gov. Gregoire’s position, check out what she told me when I interviewed her last week:

I asked Gov. Gregoire for her reaction to yesterday’s District Court decision suspending state rules that direct all pharmacists to make Plan B (emergency contraception) available to women. Gregoire said she was “very disappointed” in the decision, and she’s looking at filing an appeal with the Attorney General. Asked why she was disappointed, she said, “A woman’s right to a lawful prescription should not be subject to the biases and prerogatives of a pharmacist.” She also stressed that the issue was broader than Plan B, saying, for example, that an AIDS victim shouldn’t be prevented from getting medication because the pharmacist might not “agree with [that person’s] lifestyle.”

Additionally, Postman’s got this official statement from Gregoire:

“This is about private medical decisions between patients and their physicians and pharmacies filling doctor prescribed medications. “While this court decision weakens protections for victims of sexual assault, and interferes with a women’s right to choose, it also allows any patient to be denied their medication for no apparent reason.

“Third parties should not come between doctors and patients in medical decisions. This is about the right of personal privacy and medical access.”

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You tell 'em Gov! Fuck the pharmacists who feel that their religion gives them the right to refuse to treat people. Doctors can't turn away people from the emergency room just because they don't agree with their lifestyle/choices/whatever. I can just imagine, "I didn't want to treat him because he is a junkie/ass fucker/straight person." Right.
And don't tell me "they can go to a different pharmacist." What if that present a huge obstacle to the person?
I think the pharmacist are way out of line on this issue, and frankly I'm glad that a lot of their clout and business is being taken away by internet marketers and supermarkets!

Posted by Doc for Gregoire | November 15, 2007 9:18 AM

Gregoire said "AIDS victim"?

I admire her sense of drama, but that phrase really chaps my ass.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | November 15, 2007 9:19 AM

I'm really going to enjoy watching Dino go down in flames next year. Pharmacists have a State-sanctioned monopoly to dispense drugs. They can't discriminate on the basis of religion. Didn't we settle this generations ago when we decided that it was ok for blacks to eat lunch at Woolworth's even though the waitress or the store manager felt that would violate their religious beliefs? If this holds up, what's to prevent discrimination against renters, taxi passengers, etc., etc., etc. That nutjob of a federal judge should be stoned back into the first century.

Posted by kk | November 15, 2007 9:24 AM

If a pharmacist decides not to dispense a prescription written by a physician, thereby countermanding the physician's express order, isn't that tantamount to practicing medicine without a license?

Posted by N in Seattle | November 15, 2007 9:27 AM

On the other hand, this opens up the pharmacist position to Christian Scientists, who previously would have violated their religious beliefs by dispensing anything.

Posted by MvB | November 15, 2007 9:27 AM

Apparently Rossi wasn't happy to only lose by a few hundred votes last time and wants to see if he can lose by a much larger margin this time.

Posted by Mike of Renton | November 15, 2007 9:32 AM

What I think is so stupid about this arguement is that these pharmacists want to "take a stand", but they don't want to be inconveinced by that stand. God forbid they would quit on principal, or take up another line of work on principal. They just want to feel good about their so called ethics.

It's like the people that want to outlaw abortion. Abortion has been an option since the first woman gave birth, and it will continue to be an option until the last baby has been born. The only thing outlawing abortion would do would clean up the statistics.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 15, 2007 9:43 AM

@2 - really? Is that how we're going to do this? Can't we just take a moment to applaud Gregoire for taking a stand before we start backbiting and PC nitpicking?

Posted by Levislade | November 15, 2007 9:49 AM

Why does Rossi hate we Washingtonians so?

I'll bet they guy is so lame he avoided serving in a combat unit too.


Next thing you know you'll tell us he accepted multi-million dollar bribes from big business to run ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 15, 2007 9:58 AM

@8 "We" weren't doing anything.

Secondly, I'm kind of excited that I was accused of being PC. That's never happened before!

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | November 15, 2007 10:07 AM

"...pharmacists should not be forced to do something that is against their conscience or religious beliefs."

Thereby allowing them to infringe on another's conscience and/or religious beliefs.

Your rights and personal freedoms should end at the point where they can screw up someone else's life. Its surprising how many people fail to recognize that.

Posted by Toby | November 15, 2007 10:13 AM

@11 yeah, but, %33 to %50 of the US population at any given time doesn't "believe" in evolution. so don't expect the general populace to understand rights beyond property and guns.

Posted by seattle98104 | November 15, 2007 10:21 AM

I'm with Catalina. I think pharmacists SHOULD be allowed to refuse to dispense -- and then should be allowed to go to jail for a year and lose their license for it.

Posted by Fnarf | November 15, 2007 10:27 AM

Can doctors dispense their own prescriptions? If they can't, I wouldnt' mind seeing the legislature change that law and maybe cut into the pharmacists' profits.

Posted by Smade | November 15, 2007 10:33 AM

Wasn't there a similar situation with Muslim taxi drivers refusing something or other?

Posted by man alive | November 15, 2007 10:42 AM

Can't we sidestep this whole issue by making Plan B legal over the counter for all ages in this state?

Posted by Greg | November 15, 2007 10:42 AM

Greg @ 16

It's not just about plan B. What I like about Gregoire's current position on this is that she cuts to the larger (and more politically resonant" core issue. “While this court decision weakens protections for victims of sexual assault, and interferes with a women’s right to choose, it also allows any patient to be denied their medication for no apparent reason."

Any pharmacist can deny any meds based on whatever individual value system the pharmacist holds, inlcuding "no apparent reason."

I think the pharmacists here have got a court to accord them very broad powers that no one ever believed they possessed before.

Posted by mirror | November 15, 2007 11:00 AM

@13 - I defer to the wisdom of Fnarf.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 15, 2007 11:08 AM

Speaking as a PWA - Person Living with AIDS -

Gov. Gregoire rocks, and her mention of the slippery slope was right on.

I am ready for the battle to re - elect this leader. Are you?

Dino Rossi is a no good neo con faker.

We must work hard against him starting after the Holidays.

The battle is on - Rossi Looses by 6 Points - is the headline we need in Nov. of 2008 - none of this squeaking by stuff this time round, a clean Gregoire victory.

Posted by Marlon | November 15, 2007 11:10 AM

just don't tell your pharmacist what plan-b is used for.

Posted by infrequent | November 15, 2007 11:26 AM

I think I should become a pharmacist. It is against my personal belief system to give viagra to Republicans. After all, if God wanted Republicans to get boners, God would give them boners without the intervention of drugs.

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 15, 2007 12:23 PM

Actually Will, I think the Rossi bribes were only in the $100,000 to $200,000 range and were paid when he last held public office. Though, I am not sure how else one could define the $75k to $100k fraudward Washington paid him with BIAW money.

Posted by Particle Man | November 15, 2007 12:26 PM


why not "AIDS victim"?

Posted by observance | November 15, 2007 1:48 PM

If pharmacists aren't supposed to use their judgement when deciding whether or not to fill a prescription, why have pharmacists?

Posted by Lee Gibson | November 16, 2007 6:43 PM

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