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Friday, April 15, 2005

More Pharmacists on Crack

Well I just know this has a snowball's chance in hell of passing but at least I can hope. It seems that House and Senate backers have put forth the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act (ALPhA), which says pharmacists can only refuse to fill a prescription if it can be passed to a co-worker at the same pharmacy to fill.

Now, I am not completely unsympathetic to their cause IN THEORY – I happen to think that advertising on the part of the pharmaceutical industry has resulted in the over-medication of people in general, and the prescription of dangerous drugs like Vioxx to patients who shouldn't be taking them (like my mom) who subsequently wind up having surprise heart attacks (like my mom). Notice, however, that I AM NOT A PHARMACIST, and if my job was to dispense medication prescribed by doctors based on medical diagnoses I had ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF then I would either do so or find another profession. That just seems kind of obvious.

Ever have a pharmacist scream out your prescription to the entire store? It's a regular practice at the Rite Aid on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax in Los Angeles. And it's humiliating. How much worse would it be to have a pharmacist tell you they won't fill your prescription and you have to go somewhere else because they think you are in league with Satan? Rep. Carol Maloney (D-NY) agrees. “Let a woman be treated with dignity. When she has a prescription from her doctor, that privacy should be respected.”

But my new personal favorite on the national wack-job scene – Karen Brauer, spokesloon for Pharmacists for Life – is worried that doctors will eventually begin ordering women to abort disabled children, and wants additional legislation to protect pharmacists from collaborating in this. "They'll force women to kill their children ... It will be like China. It's the next logical step,” she says.

I finally decided not to pursue medicine because it was just too much hard work and a constitutional predilection for boys, booze & punk rock left me ill-disposed for a college career in the chem lab. But somewhere along the line I think I learned that almost all tests for birth defects could not be safely or reliably administered within the first 64 days after conception, which is how long RU-486 can be prescribed for. Let's leave them to their cracked opinion that women should be forced to carry seriously ill children to term that will never fully develop and die shortly after birth in some weird Margaret Atwood dystopia for the moment. The assertion that pharmacists need protection from participation in this particular disaster just doesn't hold up – by the time serious birth defects can be diagnosed, RU-486 is no longer a termination option.

And if we ever get to the place where doctors are “forcing” women to kill their children (?) I for one don't need to count on superhero pharmacists as the first line of defense. Thanks, but we're not quite there yet, okay guys? Just act like a professional and fill my fucking prescription -- if I want a sermon I'll watch the 700 Club.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)