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Monday, August 18, 2008

Rossi: Women’s Reproductive Health Just Like Cereal, Socket Wrenches

posted by on August 18 at 11:42 AM

In an open letter seeking votes from Ron Paul supporters (!!), Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi compared letting pharmacists refuse to dispense emergency contraception (and actually, by extension, any drug including regular old contraception) to letting hardware store and grocery owners decide what kind of goods to stock.

“Just as government shouldn’t tell grocery store owners that they have to sell certain types of groceries, or hardware store owners that they have to sell certain types of tools, it shouldn’t tell pharmacists which drugs to sell,” Rossi wrote.

You know why that’s a shitty analogy? Because no one’s health—no one’s right to choose not to get pregnant and have an abortion (which wouldn’t be necessary if they got Plan B) or raise a unwanted child (gee, now that’s a pro-life stance)—depends on their ability to buy a certain fucking brand of eggs. If you were ever looking for evidence that the forced-pregnancy brigades don’t give a shit about women’s health or lives, look no further than Dino Rossi.

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I compare pharmacists not carrying birth control to a doctor choosing not to treat black patients or treat people with AIDS. They can't do that. Right?

(God, I hope that is illegal.)

Posted by Clearlyhere | August 18, 2008 11:55 AM

So which other products should the State be able to require pharmacists to sell?

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | August 18, 2008 12:01 PM

I think they should be required to carry Jolly Joe also...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | August 18, 2008 12:03 PM

Dino Rossi is one example of a tool no hardware store should be required to sell.

Good post ECB.

Posted by Joe M | August 18, 2008 12:05 PM

@2 Pharmacies should be required to sell any legal drug prescribed by a physician and should not obstruct the patient from obtaining them. Period.

Posted by inkweary | August 18, 2008 12:18 PM

@5: Here here! I have the expectation that the pharmacy acts as an extension of my physician and is required to fulfill the physician's instructions to the letter of the prescription. (In the case of Plan B, the state is acting as physician when it makes it available sans doctor for the purposes of timely treatment.)

The pharmacist has no right to reduce my prescription, make it stronger, change the number of pills dispensed, change the brand (without permission) or active ingrediant, etc. By extension, the pharmacy can't deny me my treatment or make judgements about whether I need that blood thinner, birth control, or antibiotic.

Posted by eric sic | August 18, 2008 12:33 PM

Joel Connelly posted this a week ago:

I think you need to make the source more clear, as did. But perhaps that doesn't look so good, give that he's listed as an Enemy of Slog just to the right of your post?

Posted by rb | August 18, 2008 12:35 PM

@5 Well, no, not really. They can't be expected to carry "any" drug, as that would require a huge inventory of rare and infrequently prescribed drugs. Also, emergency contraception doesn't require a prescription.

Refusing to dispense emergency contraception due to religious objections is discrimination, not freedom of religion. Pharmacists should be prevented from discriminating while dispensing medication.

Posted by blank12357 | August 18, 2008 12:43 PM

pharmacists need to just do their fucking job, which is to dispense medications, not their morality. don't like plan B? get another job and/or USE YOUR FUCKING BRAIN. that woman you withold plan B from will likely end up getting a baby-killing abortion instead of just swallowing a baby-preventing pill.

Posted by brandon | August 18, 2008 12:50 PM

I think any woman who supports Dino Rossi is a fool.

Posted by Vince | August 18, 2008 12:55 PM

Ron Paul would tell the pharmacist to get another job because the pharmacy is a private business, not a public one. Any pharmacist who refuses to fill ANY prescription needs to get a new line of work.

Posted by P to the J | August 18, 2008 1:11 PM

Pharmicists; forced to do things they find immoral because it's the expected job duty,

Actors; forced to work long hours because it is expected of them.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 1:19 PM

Someone should read Dino Rossi that, "first they came for our plan B, then they came for our hemorrhoid cream" poem.

Posted by ams | August 18, 2008 1:22 PM

I just had this bizarre vision of a pharmacy run by Christian Scientists which, much like the cheese shop in the Monty Python skit, stocks no actual product.

Posted by dbell | August 18, 2008 1:31 PM

Washington: You want back alley abortion clinics? Vote for any Republican.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 18, 2008 1:39 PM

I'm so fucking tired of people using freedom of religion in order to discriminate against gays and lesbians and to with hold birth control from women. At some point, there needs to be line drawn between acknowledging ones' beliefs and imposing them on other people.

Posted by North Quincy | August 18, 2008 1:44 PM

@8: Within reason, obviously, 5 is right. If I require something unusual enough that Walgreens/CVS/etc. doesn't stock it, I should be seeing a specialist whose hospital pharmacy does carry it.

But again (per my post @6), the hospital pharmacy cannot then refuse or change the prescription. The nature of emergency contraception makes it impossible to schedule an appointment for two weeks down the road, hence the state is playing preemptive physician.

A doctor that refused to properly treat a patient should have his/her license revoked. So it should be with pharmacists.

Posted by eric sic | August 18, 2008 2:00 PM

@8 Let us not split hairs. I believe we all know that there are thousands of drugs, and many of them would only be available at specialty pharmacies. As to discrimination, I don't know of any laws that require pharmacies to carry condoms, yet some do not, some pharmacies don't carry candy either, discrimination or marketing decison? Hard to tell. My point is that it is not the place of a pharmacist to hinder or block the therapeutic relationship between patient and physician. In the case of a pharmamcy not having a particular type of insulin for example, the pharmacist should either offer to order it or find you a pharmacy that has it, he should not be able to decide that prolonging life by artificial means is wrong and refuse to fill the scrip or refer you to someone who will.

Posted by inkweary | August 18, 2008 3:30 PM


I agree.


And there in lies the rub.

While any Pharmacist licensed to do business in this state should promptly fill any prescription written by any MD, they can't be expected to inventory all drugs that could or even frequently are prescribed. While it's not unusual for a pharmacy to fill prescriptions for drugs that they do not stock in inventory (Oxycodone, for various reasons, for example) it usually takes them a day or two to fill those prescriptions. Which, obviously, would be problematic in the case of emergency birth control. Another problem with that standard, is what do you do if a MD prescribes a drug that is legal at the State level but illegal at the federal level (like... oh... say Marijuana). Should the pharmacist be required to assume the potential liability of filling that prescription?

As to drugs that are obtained without a prescription, it's clear to me that a Pharmacy should be able to choose what, if any, they carry but (assuming @5's statement to be "true") that offering should not limit their obligation to fill a prescription.

For instance, I take Claritin. Claritin is available without a prescription. Bob's Mom & Pop Drugs does not stock Claritin (because of an ancient blood feud with it's manufacturer Schering Corporation who "done them wrong way back when"). Because I take Claritin daily at my Doctors advice, I have a prescription for Claritin so that my health insurance will pay for it. Now, while I may not ever be able to purchase it without a prescription at Bob's Mom & Pop Drugs, I should be able to expect them to fill a prescription for it as promptly as possible. Therefore they should be obligated to tell me how long it will take them to order my Claritin, and I, in turn, get to choose to give them my business or not. That way they don't have to market a product they don't want to be associated with (the same way some drug stores don't stock condoms) and I am guaranteed reasonably prompt (though possibly not immediate) access to any drug my MD prescribes. (Though I'm still not sure about the Marijuana question... and again, not probably a solution to the emergency contraception issue.) If they don't have it, and can't get it quickly enough, I'll probably take my business else where (as should any woman that goes to a pharmacy that couldn't fill a prescription for emergency contraceptive quickly enough).

Okay... so... "But what about innocent women who happen to live in small isolated towns that only have one pharmacy? What if that pharmacy has a stick up its but about emergency contraception? If those pharmacys aren't required to stock Plan B, aren't those women being "discriminated" against since they "have not other choice"?"

They, unfortunately, find themselves in the same position as innocent women who happen to live in small isolated towns that have no pharmacy. It seems that the same solution should be applied to both scenarios, and that, whatever that solution is, it would not include a pharmacist. (Observe that in the second scenario there is no pharmacist available for inclusion.) And, hey, couldn't that solution also be applied to that earlier problem of medical Marijuana?...

It seems to me that pharmacists should be required to fill prescriptions for generally available and legal drugs in a timely manner (a day or two) but if it's an emergency, or a drug whose legality is questionable, if the State wants that drug to be immediately and/or readily available, the obligation should be on the state to make it so.

Now. What would that solution look like?

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | August 18, 2008 5:10 PM

Sorry about the typos etc... I need an editor. And this is not easy to do from a PDA...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | August 18, 2008 5:18 PM

I'm an organ tranplant patient, and many pharmacies don't have some of my anti-rejection meds on-hand. But never has even the most podunk pharmacy said "We don't carry these," and turnaround for an order has never been more than 24 hours.

Due to the less plan-ahead-able nature of pregnancy, however, an ample stock of Plan B should be REQUIRED at every pharmacy. If nothing else, the outrage such a law generates might get these "Christian" "pharmacists" to quit in protest.

#14, the Christian Scientist analogy is a good one. I think someone should seriously petition for that to be a law, just to show the preposterousness of these Plan B protesters.

Posted by Joseph | August 18, 2008 6:02 PM

He put the same bullshit line into his response for the youtube debate, so—even better than reading it—you can now watch while he slimes his way through the issue in technicolor:

I have a feeling we're going to be hearing a lot about groceries and hardware stores between now and November....

Posted by Maria | August 18, 2008 10:39 PM

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