Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 28, 2005

Pharmacists' Rights Debated

WASHINGTON (RBN)  Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions to treat erectile dysfunction, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

An increasing number of clashes are occurring in drugstores across the country. Pharmacists often risk dismissal or other disciplinary action to stand up for their beliefs, while shaken man desperately call their doctors, frequently late at night, after being turned away by sometimes-lecturing men and women in white coats.

"There are pharmacists who will only give potency enhancing pills to a man if he's married," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."

That is what happened to Heather Pilz and her lifetime friend, who panicked when the condoms they were planing to use suddenly seemed extremly oversized. Their fear really spiked when the Walgreens pharmacy down the street from their home in Milwaukee refused to fill an emergency prescription for a sildenafil citrate drug.

"I couldn't believe it," said Pilz, 44, "How can they make that decision for us? I was outraged."

Wisconsin is one of at least 11 states considering "conscience clause" laws that would protect pharmacists. Four states already have laws that specifically allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their beliefs.

"What is a man supposed to do in rural America, in places where there may only be one pharmacy?" asked Bob Dole, who has had some problems corrected through such drugs after a prostate surgery. He is launching a campaign today to counter the trend. "It's a slap in the face to men."

In the end, Pilz was able to obtain her friends prescription last June directly from his doctor.

"I was lucky," Pilz said. "I can sympathize with someone who feels strongly and doesn't want to be involved. But they should just step out of the way and not interfere with someone else's decision. It's just not right."

Posted by b on March 28, 2005 at 18:13 UTC | Permalink


transcend your genital traffic b

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 28 2005 18:22 utc | 1

Additional links:
Viagra critical articles


Washington Post report

Posted by: b | Mar 28 2005 18:26 utc | 2

@ r'giap


Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 28 2005 18:40 utc | 3

let me try that again.

trancend genital medication

OK, I will go away now

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 28 2005 18:51 utc | 4


where do you find these sites - they would add to my nightmares

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 28 2005 19:02 utc | 5

I thought this issue was resolved long ago. Back in the mid 80's when I was working on my MBA, we read some law cases on similar cases. Basically, a company must try to adjust work conditions to meet an employee's religious values, but if that is not possible, then the employee can be fired. The case I remember is a Jewish union worker who was forced to work on Saturday. The company (airline industry?) tried to prevent him from being scheduled on Saturday, but due to various changes (new scheduling agreement in union contract?), it could no longer do so and the employee was required to show up or be fired. I can't remember much because it was so long ago.

This is a Pandora's box I don't think we want opened. How about vegetarian waitresses who refuse to serve partons meat dishes? How about PETA clothing salespersons who berate their customers who are interested in buying fur?

Posted by: Dennis | Mar 28 2005 19:13 utc | 6

sigh. if only that's what it were about. As they say, if men could get pregnant, they'd offer abortions at WalMart. And dispense birth control pills from a coin-op machines.

Paying attention to the news in this country is like watching a slow-motion train wreck. I feel powerless to stop it, but I can't turn my head away.

Posted by: semper fubar | Mar 28 2005 19:15 utc | 7

@semper fu Paying attention to the news in this country is like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

my feelings, exactamente. to a T. I keep thinking I'm gonna wake up and this will all have been some weird dream brought on by reading too much John Brunner late at night.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 28 2005 19:18 utc | 8

What if I'm a pharmacist who doesn't believe in transplants? Do I get to deny Tacrolimus to anybody who comes in with such a prescription? What if I think glaucoma is God's punishment for viewing pornography? Can I refuse the Rx for Xalatan?

Principles Nos. III & IV from the Code of Ethics adopted by the American Pharmacists Association:

III. A pharmacist respects the autonomy and dignity of each patient.

A pharmacist promotes the right of self-determination and recognizes individual self-worth by encouraging patients to participate in decisions about their health. A pharmacist communicates with patients in terms that are understandable. In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients.

IV. A pharmacist acts with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.

A pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth and to act with conviction of conscience. A pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise dedication to the best interests of patients.

And Principle Two from the Ontario College Code of Ethics:

The pharmacist actively promotes the well-being of every patient in a caring, compassionate manner. The patient's well-being is at the centre of the pharmacist's professional and business practices. This principle ensures that no patient shall be deprived of pharmaceutical services because of the personal convictions or religious beliefs of a pharmacist. Where such circumstances occur, the pharmacist refers the patient to another pharmacist who can meet the patient's needs. The pharmacist exercises his or her professional judgement to ensure that patients' needs are met in situations where emergency services or care may be required.

Posted by: Meteor Blades | Mar 28 2005 19:22 utc | 9

How about vegetarian waitresses who refuse to serve partons meat dishes? How about PETA clothing salespersons who berate their customers who are interested in buying fur?

If states allow pharmacists not to hand out morning-after pills for religious reasons, will they allow Marines to refrain from shooting for the same reason?

I think there is a trend with the religious right building traps here that may eventually catch them. It´s somehow like Martin Niemöller cheering the Nazis in 1933 and sitting in a concentration camp in 1937.

Posted by: b | Mar 28 2005 19:33 utc | 10

When leaders -- Elected Presidents, Kings, Heads of huge Corps, Police Chiefs, Judges -- no longer adhere to and reinforce some version of what is publicly accepted and written as the ‘rule of law’, or more prosaically, abandon kindness and staight dealing;

When the rule book is tossed away on high;

Many of the minions, the lowly, immediately go the same route and begin wielding petty power ploys.

They test the system, gleefully righteous, by turns garrulous and alarmingly stern. They know what their conscience tells them, what is best for others, how the world should be.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 28 2005 19:40 utc | 11

@Blackie - right

Teaching Darwin splits Pennsylvania town

"If we continue to indoctrinate our young people with non-religious principles, we're headed for an internal destruction of this society," he said.

"Evolution is just a theory and there are other theories," Mummert explained, smiling through his beard.

"There is such a complexity in life, and science wants to hang its hat on a belief that life somehow started -- they say there is no creator, no order ... I believe there is a creator," he said.

Both sides acknowledge the political context of the debate over Darwinism, and the relation to the re-election of staunchly Christian President George W. Bush.

"Christians are a lot more bold under Bush's leadership, he speaks what a lot of us believe," said Mummert.

"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture," he said

That is a very dangerous attack.

Posted by: b | Mar 28 2005 20:02 utc | 12

I think there is a trend with the religious right building traps here that may eventually catch them.

i don't know -- so far it's never worked that way. That presumes some sort of rational basis, and hence linear process, for their thinking.

Posted by: semper fubar | Mar 28 2005 20:06 utc | 13

Slightly OT, but somehow I feel this fits in here better than in the open thread. Cheney doesn't seem to have problems changing his conscience. Anyway its good for a laugh.

Veep Barely Worked His Way Through College ... CHENEY WAS A NUDE MODEL ... FOR ART STUDENTS

Before entering politics, Cheney put himself through college at the University of Wyoming by dropping his drawers for several local artists and sculptors.

"Oh sure, I remember him. He modeled for me for nearly two years," recalls retired sculptor Lorraine Feinbaum. "Of course, back then he went by the name 'Big Dick Cheney,' as he was rather, um, well-endowed -- which put him in great demand."

That demand is currently on display in an X-rated art show titled "Cheney Unchained," at the Ziffle Gallery, just outside Casper, Wyo., where Cheney grew up. The show features a collection of the works of several artists and sculptors who used

Cheney as a nude model. Only those 16 and over are permitted inside the gallery, as practically every work features the young, buff, future Vice President in a full-frontal pose.

Cheney is the latest among a string of Washington politicians with unusual backgrounds. According to reliable inside sources, California Senator Barbara Boxer earned extra cash jumping out of cakes at bachelor parties. Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy worked one summer as a male escort, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the cover girl three times for Black Booty magazine, and First Lady Laura Bush worked briefly as a "fluffer," -- a woman whose job it is to keep male adult film stars in a continual state of arousal.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 28 2005 20:10 utc | 14

Christians are a lot more bold under Bush's leadership, he speaks what a lot of us believe...We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture

what an admission! that quote is a keeper.

Posted by: b real | Mar 28 2005 20:12 utc | 15

First Lady Laura Bush worked briefly as a "fluffer," -- a woman whose job it is to keep male adult film stars in a continual state of arousal.
This is just too funny!!!!

Posted by: SME in Seattle | Mar 28 2005 20:54 utc | 16

I doubt very much that corporations will stand for this. "Morality" has its baggage too.

Posted by: aschweig | Mar 28 2005 21:04 utc | 17

there are some issues here. viagra and "christians".

i am completely d'accord with the decision of the pharmacists to not sell viagra but i find their motivation wrong. lemme explain.

first, i think viagra, just like cocaine or marihuana, should be prescribed by doctors or pharmacists. "lifestyle" drugs have no place in curative medicinal praxis IMO. to prescribe viagra to people who dont get their dick up is like prescribing cocaine to cure depression. "erectile dysfunction" (what a fucking bland term) is caused by heart and circulation problems, by being a generally bad physical shape (a bit of movement does wonders), by use of medicines or drugs, alcohol abuse, stress, a bad relationship, other psychological factors. while i'm not a doctor i'd suspect that viagra is a suspicious substance just like cocaine or ketamines, which give you a very cool high but burns your brains in the process. problems getting a woody is often the first sign of heart insufficiency, and i suspect viagra can turn a mild coronary insufficiency treatable with a modicum of healthy lifestyle into an incurable ailment.

people who use this crap are stupid and plain irresponsibe sez me. have a walk a day, loose some weight, stop drinking, fix your relationship with your wife of just get yourself a girlfriend.

the second issue is with the "christians". that these shitheads dare to go telling other people what to do and what "morals" are is IMO a sign that there are some things very very out of whack in the US. what i am saying is that the law of the land is probably neither respected nor enforced anymore if pharmacists can be intimidated into not selling specific drugs or worse if they put their own petty "concience" before their obligations to community and society. if it is viagra today it can be blood transfusion equipment tomorrow (FYI, certain "christian" sects in the US forbid blood transfusions even if is to save a life) and aspirin the next day because god meant you to suffer.

i've been wondering why vienna is so chock full of americans for the last year or so. could it have anything to do with this craziness ?

Posted by: name | Mar 28 2005 22:04 utc | 18


i mean, of course, that "viagra, just like cocaine or marihuana, should NOT be prescribed by doctors or pharmacists"

Posted by: name | Mar 28 2005 22:05 utc | 19

very well put, sempur. here in canuckistan, the US train wreck is just a snapshot of our possible future not unlike the rise of the reichwing 'christian?' fundies.

Posted by: lenin's ghost | Mar 28 2005 23:20 utc | 20

calm down Name :-) just another high-quality spoof from Radio Free Bernhard! I suspect the original inspiration was>this or another article on the same subject...

I do however agree with yez that the "syndromisation of everything," i.e. further and further intrusion of the diagnostic/med-mafia apparatus into quotidian human affairs and the redefinition of lifestyle preferences / recreational meds as "prescription", is out of control. [insert appropriate quote from Laing or Illich here]

but hey, ever since I read that the pharmacorps were trying to redefine stage fright (ahem, public performance anxiety disorder) as a mental illness with a specific psychoactive prescription drug targeted at "patients", I've just had to laugh at each new "syndrome" they trot out for solemn definition and a shiny new demographically-targeted marketing campaign.

the primary messages of all hypercapitalist advertising are twofold: 1) you, you, you are the most important person in the whole effing world and You Deserve It All -- Today -- On Easy Credit... and 2) there is something horribly wrong with you, you are "broken" and unworthy, dirty and defective and abnormal -- and you really, really need to spend lots of money on our fancy snake oil du jour which will fix you up good. how we live with the cognitive diss of those two clashing brainwashcloths I do not know.

I was wakened one morning when a ring at the bell
split my dreams:
the man at the door had a smile so wide I thought
his face would fall apart at the seams;
he said "Good Morning, It's your lucky day,
I'm here to help you make the grade!
I'm your friend I'm your neighbour I'm your good companion,
I'm the leader of a wig crusade!
we've... got...
straight wigs and curly wigs
gay wings and girly wigs
live a little, buy a devil-daring one!
we've got blue wigs, red wigs,
very-good-in-bed wigs,
everyone who's anyone is wearing one!"
I said, "No thanks, I've nowhere to put it,
and I've got all the hair that I need."
He said, "Never mind Sir, we've a product on the market
makes your hair fall out -- guaranteed!"

Leon Rosselson, "We Sell Everything" (from memory, scribal errors are all my own)

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 28 2005 23:29 utc | 21


Let us not pontificate about those things of which we are uninformed. My calm, slender, vegetarian husband, who walks at least an hour every day, uses no (other) prescription drugs and abuses no other substances, meditates daily, and is in a loving relationship, needs Viagra. He is 64 and has used it for several years. The cause(s) of this problem are not always clear. And if someone has it because of, say, stress, I take it you would condemn that person to no sex life? That will really be great for his stress. Last, someday it might be you (or your partner) in those shoes.

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 28 2005 23:58 utc | 22

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Posted by: beq | Mar 29 2005 0:33 utc | 23

"trancend genital medication" good one, dofs.

Posted by: beq | Mar 29 2005 0:56 utc | 24

People who want Viagra should put up or shut up.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 29 2005 1:19 utc | 25

on a more serious note>While we follow the 'war on Terri', what about ordinary people?

and>a disabled-rights activist passionately argues the case against allowing family members or HMOs unreviewed authority to terminate "inconvenient" patients. I myself am very divided in mind on this one, having long been in the camp of "oh please shoot me if I ever become completely disabled." I guess it depends what we mean by "completely"... and this article made me consider for a moment the terror in which a profoundly disabled person might live from day to day if s/he did not wish to die just yet, but feared that family members might wish to rid themselves of the encumbrance.

when is it mercy and when is it murder? only the wishes of the disabled or terminal patient resolve this question. while it seems clear that TS is in no position to assert a wish and never again will be, many other disabled people might object strongly to being "terminated" for the convenience of others. damned slippery subject. keeping people alive against their will as med-mafia cash cows I find repulsive and immoral, but terminating someone who still gets enough pleasure out of being alive to want to keep at it a while longer, is clearly murderous.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 29 2005 1:41 utc | 26

name, in followup to your good piece above on how pharma is calling the shots in "medicine" now, here is my story.

Weak heart, low erectile response. In a fit of impatience with my disability I ate a blue pill that was most likely a viagra ripoff, which set my poor overworked heart to beating overtime (overdose -overdose). It never recovered and I had to have surgery to correct the problem.

So I don't agree that this drug should be available without prescription. Perhaps it should not be available at all but it is. Whatcha gonna do?

Posted by: a mark | Mar 29 2005 2:19 utc | 27


My neighbor is a disability rights activist and just got back from her protest in Florida. She has circulated material that equates TS to Christopher Reeve, which imo is ludicrous. Absolutely, the Bills of this world need medical care and the feeble need their right to live protected. But I have trouble with putting in the same category as any of these a woman whose cerebral cortex has turned to liquid, based on the brain scans someone linked to here last week. So many people have so much emotion tied up in this situation that they are unable to make distinctions between the real Terri and the Terri of their imaginations. If all this should produce a serious look at the real issues, that would be terrific, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: liz | Mar 29 2005 2:51 utc | 28

This is a Pandora's box I don't think we want opened.
But "some idiot" has already opened least in USA…

Paying attention to the news in this country is like watching a slow-motion train wreck. I feel powerless to stop it, but I can't turn my head away.

Ah so well said...

If states allow pharmacists not to hand out morning-after pills for religious reasons, will they allow Marines to refrain from shooting for the same reason?

I think there is a trend with the religious right building traps here that may eventually catch them.
Well not...They are not indiscriminate. They'll choose carefully what part of their “morality” to implant in a law...and where it's not that good for the business...However in the end they may get “confused” with a result and it can come back to hunt them…

I doubt very much that corporations will stand for this. "Morality" has its baggage too.
That’s what I am thinking too.

Posted by: vbo | Mar 29 2005 4:33 utc | 29

the problem spreads to canuckistan as fundie pharmacists say they may not sell the 'morning after' pill. damn godheads!

Posted by: lenin's ghost | Mar 29 2005 4:47 utc | 30


Excuse me...I'll go away...

By the way, this isn't about pharmacists...the theocrats are a very top down movement...they've just decided to open this new front in their war on women.

Assuming we win this one, it's only good aspect, esp. when combined w/their obscene exploitation of the grief of the Schiavo family, is that it opens everyone's eyes to the fact that Abortion is just the beginning. Actually it's a code word for their Total War Against Women & Citizens having control over their bodies & lives.

Had the Garbage waited til they'd packed the Judiciary to move on these, people might have been misled. The fight for the judiciary should have many more adherents on our side now.

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 5:14 utc | 31

"I think there is a trend with the religious right building traps here that may eventually catch them."

that would hold, only if this were about reason. It's not. It's about POWER. Do the Taliban or Saudi Wahabbi's worry about consistency? Same deal here.

Perhaps feminists & every family that wants to control it's reproduction, which is about everyone whose cerebral cortex isn't liquid, will band together w/unionists & go after Walmart together. That'd stop this shit pretty damn quickly, if informational picket lines pop up at Walmarts all over America.

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 5:22 utc | 32

Sorry I had a rough day...

Big Huge & Kiss to Theocrats for finally doing something right & going after Viagra too. Finally guys can't turn their heads like they do w/abortion, which affects everyone who's not homosexual, but you'd never know it. I was afraid they'd go after bc pills first, win that 'cuz after all who really cares about cunts, then apply the same "logic" to Viagra. Thanks guys. This makes our lives so much easier. Everyone everywhere will be against you...Finally. Yahoo!!! Middle-aged Republican males will be picketing a pharmacy near you in Hawaiian shirts & plastic thongs making common cause w/feminists & perhaps even unionists...maybe even NASCAR drivers & male jocks.....It'll be quite a party at the ole pharmacy tonight!!! Sales of BC pills & Viagra will skyrocket from all the new alliances formed...The first picket line ever in Nowhere Kentucky, I can see it on the news now.

Posted by: jj | Mar 29 2005 5:31 utc | 33

Paul Krugman's take on this RBN story in the bigger picture. He is asking:

What's Going On?

Yesterday The Washington Post reported on the growing number of pharmacists who, on religious grounds, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or morning-after pills. These pharmacists talk of personal belief; but the effect is to undermine laws that make these drugs available. And let me make a prediction: soon, wherever the religious right is strong, many pharmacists will be pressured into denying women legal drugs.

And it won't stop there. There is a nationwide trend toward "conscience" or "refusal" legislation. Laws in Illinois and Mississippi already allow doctors and other health providers to deny virtually any procedure to any patient. Again, think of how such laws expose doctors to pressure and intimidation.

But the big step by extremists will be an attempt to eliminate the filibuster, so that the courts can be packed with judges less committed to upholding the law than Mr. Greer.

We can't count on restraint from people like Mr. DeLay, who believes that he's on a mission to bring a "biblical worldview" to American politics, and that God brought him a brain-damaged patient to help him with that mission.
The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk.

America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.

Posted by: | Mar 29 2005 7:18 utc | 34

"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture"
The pity is that natural selection doesn't work anymore with mankind. We could surely use it to get rid of the worst of these scumbags.

If pharmacists don't do the work they're paid to do, then fire them without benefits and ship them to Iraq, or let Wal-Mart hire them at 5$/hour.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 29 2005 10:23 utc | 35

Well, here we are again debating more intimidation from the religious right. I used to think that I was giving this far too much thought and should move on to healthier thoughts but I grow more concerned about the future of America every day.

Don't be fooled by Bush and Bush backing away from the Schiavo case. The two of them are mere poll hounds, but they haven't changed their stripes or their loyalties. As I've noticed, more and more Protestant groups have dropped away from activism in this case and left the radical Catholics high and dry. And I think the money is in right wing Protestant movements. The Religious Right gives Conservative Catholics a nod or two from time to time, but if your ever hear their sermons on Catholicism, you'd know this is not one happy disfunctional family!

Of course with the case of creationism being pushed in schools (and intimidating Imax theaters), the "Patriotic Pastors" arranging to take over every local government in Ohio, and the massive fund raising that will take place after poor Terri is dead (the New York Times today mentioned that anyone who sent in donations to the Shiavo Family will be dunned for money for years by the numerous organizations that will kill for that mailing list), the battle is just beginning. But whose battle is it? The Neocons? Independent power hungry churches?

I go back to my old saw that much of the manuevering of the Bush adminstration and the religious right is being done by those sold out to the "Godism" movement of Sun Myung Moon. Moon has his hands on the left and the right lately. It's old news that he bought out Jerry Falwell and a bunch of religious right leaders. What less know is that he has also pandered to the likes of the Nation of Islam, some of the remaining shreds of the old civil rights movement, urban black churches (providing money and ocasional Asian brides) and a few urban Democrats (who think no one is looking). Moon's organization plays both sides of the street becuase he wants both sides of the street.

Now Moon, despite being crowned Messiah and King of the United States last March 23 is 87 years old. In the wings to lead the movement is his second in command Bo Hi Pak,who has many more years to do some damage. I am curious as to why Americans tend to dismiss Moon and his billions as a serious threat. He has aligned his organization with the most powerful political figures in Washington and seems on all points to be winning and getting his way in American society. Certainly the platform of the religious right, consciously or unconsciously, is currently reflecting every value he desires. Every controversy, from the displaying of the Ten Commandments to the forcing of creationism laden textbooks is in his play book. Why is he out of the media spotlight (and the spotlight of the IRS for that matter, with 1000's of front organizations)? I'm just curious what you folks think.

Posted by: diogenes | Mar 29 2005 13:01 utc | 36

Based on the theory that uneducated idiots will be easier to defeat when the country finally falls apart, I've come around to root for anything that accelerates the disintegration. Sometimes, you've got to restart from near-scratch. Look at Germany.

Posted by: Lupin | Mar 29 2005 15:08 utc | 37

um, Lupin, you're not here.
not that anywhere on the planet is safe.

I'm putting my hopes in some reincarnation of China's first emperor who will figure out that the place is worth more whole and kill off the bandits. What we are witnessing is not a body in disintegration from long corruption, but violent seizures from acute disease. If the patient is in too much pain and throws himself into the mouth of the volcano on which we happen to live these days, nothing survives.

Posted by: Citizen | Mar 29 2005 18:27 utc | 38

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