Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sometimes it sucks to be right

The AMA is now saying "conscientious objection by pharmacists is a major public health problem in many areas of the country" because some pharmacists are not stopping with just refusing to provide birth control or emergency contraception. Refusals have now begun to spread to medications for mental conditions and pain medicines. And doctors are asking for legislation to allow them to dispense meds in those cases.

Back in October I wonderred when they would begin to target HIV/AIDS drugs. So far it doesn't look like they've gone quite that far though I'm really curious to see under what specific situations they're refusing psychological and pain meds. But it's good to see the AMA and other professional physicians groups finally taking a tough stand on this issue.

What I'm really disappointed to see are national professional pharmacists groups *not* stepping up to self-regulate this new phenomenon. Doctors take the hypocratic oath. Are pharmacists not bound by a similar uniform code of ethics? A quick google found this Code of Ethics for Pharmacists, adopted by the American Pharmacists Association wherein it very specifically says:
"a pharmacist considers needs stated by the patient as well as those defined by health science". Nowhere does it say they should consider needs stated by their own personal religious beliefs. To the contract, the ethical code goes on to say "In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients."

I don't get it - does APhA just not have any self-regulating authority or do they just not choose to exercise it?

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