Pharmacists Must Dispense Plan B Contraceptive

Plan B ContraceptiveRegardless of their personal opinions or religious beliefs about the morning-after contraceptive, pharmacists are now required to dispense the Plan B, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The case could affect policy across the U.S. A supermarket pharmacy in Olympia, Washington, failed in its challenge of changes made to the 2007 regulations requiring all Washington pharmacies to have and dispense the product. Ralph’s Thriftway and two pharmacists employed elsewhere had sued Washington state officials over the regulation.

The plaintiffs claimed that their religious beliefs prevented them from dispensing the medication and said that the new regulations were unfair, forcing them to choose between their jobs and their religion.

The plaintiffs, who had sought protection under the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, won a temporary injunction from the U.S. District Court in Seattle pending trial. The order stopped state officials from penalizing pharmacists who refused to dispense Plan B, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the injunction.

Source: Drug Topics, July 16, 2009