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Morality, trust, and another kind of slipperly slope August 17, 2007

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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Helen Boyd highlighted out this article from Feminist Daily on her blog. I can appreciate how any person can hold beliefs that something is wrong, but there’s a big slippery slope here that has very scary implications.

A large society ultimately is based on trust. For example, farmers grow the food we need, distributors get it to us, and we buy it from our grocer. We trust it is clean and safe. Or we trust the bus driver or airplane pilot to be able to get us from one place to another safely. Many people we may or may not know do things that affect our daily lives, and we hope that they do not violate our trust.

In this case, the pharmacist is violating that trust of providing us medications that we feel we need for our life. In this case it’s contraception, but what concerns me is that the pharmacist here is making a judgment on someone else’s life just by the medication.

Here’s the slope – pharmacists should be concerned with the health of their customers – after all, the medications they dispense are designed to help us either deal with an illness or help us manage a chronic condition. Now suppose an obese compulsive eater gets a prescription for medication to manage his high blood pressure (which is in all likelihood caused by the overeating). What if the pharmacist decides that they don’t want to condone gluttony, so their conscience tells them to not fill the prescription. Is this right?

What if they decided they don’t approve of “the transsexual lifestyle” and decide to withhold hormones to those who are on hormone replacement therapy? Or that it’s not “God’s will” that a woman going through menopause shouldn’t have estrogen therapy?

I may or may not agree with allowing someone to use an emergency contraceptive, but who am I to say what’s right in any given person’s situation? So I trust that the person making the choice to use it or not is making the right choice for them, and I trust that a pharmacist will dispense whatever medication a person and their doctor think is prudent.

Now there are instances where a pharmacist shouldn’t dispense a medication. If they suspect that the medication is being abused (say an excessive amount of Oxycontin) then they should refuse it (and possibly contact the authorities). Or if this medication might adversely react with some other medication, but in that case they should contact the doctor and figure out what needs to be done. No doubt they have a big responsibility to their patients here. But apart from that, they should just respect the patient/doctor relationship and that’s it.