Walgreens revamp pharmacists training after woman denied drug

Walgreens will revamp its training after an Arizona women said she was humiliated when a pharmacist, citing personal objections, refused to fill a prescription to treat her miscarriage, reports a Bloomberg news wire, June 26.

The incident involved a pharmacist at a Walgreens store in Phoenix, AZ, refusing to dispense a miscarriage drug for a women who had just found out that her baby’s development had stopped.

“I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor,” said the women requesting the prescription.   She later obtained the medicine from a different Walgreens store.   The incident sparked heated commentary on social media.

Six states, including Arizona, have laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medications based on personal belief, according to the National Women’s Law Center.  Several other states have broader laws that could be interpreted as allowing pharmacists to refuse to provide a drug, the group says.

Walgreens has policies that allow pharmacists to avoid filling a prescription when they have moral objections.  But the pharmacist is required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager “in a timely manner,” said Michael Polzin, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Illinois-based company.

“We will provide additional training to all our pharmacists on appropriately handling these situations in accordance with our policy,” said Polzin.    “We want the process to be a seamless as possible for the patient.”  Walgreens apologized to the women