It seemed like a no win situation for the Pharmacy Board on Wednesday as it tried to hammer out regulations designed to guide pharmacists as to when they can refuse to fill a prescription. At the heart of those proposed regualtions a conscience clause where pharmacists deny a prescription because of ethical or moral reasons. Larry Gering of NOW testified patients should not be put in that situation. "And last but not least I have a sister, I have nieces I will have grand daughters who should not be burdened with a moral conscience of a pharmacist."
Sparks resident William Brainard says the regulations pose real problems for pharmacy owners. " No idea how an employer is going to be able to interview a pharmacist and find out what drugs they are not going to prescribe."
Those were just two of the many comments today at the State Board of Pharmacy. The board is trying to come up with regulations which would both allow the pharmacists to practice under his personal moral tenants....as well as accommodate the patient who may be in need of vital medications. What the board heard, their current regulations appeal to no one who showed up to testify today.
This was LIsa Lynn Chapman's second time before the board. "There are pharmacists who do no believe that birth control and emergency contraceptives are legitimate medical purposes." Melissa Clement from Nevada Right to LIfe would agree with Chapman but come up with an entirely different conclusion. " This is about pharmaceuticals that will end life."
Right now Nevada has no regulation or statue which says pharmacists have to dispense any medication. This fact may become increasingly problematic as medications like the morning after pill are developed and become widely available. Arguments ranged from the rights of patients and pharmacists...to whether the board was overstepping its bounds legislatively as well as professional. Washoe County Assemblywoman Sheila Lesilie preferred the board backed off. " I would prefer you leave it to us." Larry Mathias of the State Medical Association said the board was not in the business of legislation. " Therefore what you are doing is choosing to legislate by regulation and that is inappropriate."
The regulations if approved would have forced pharmacists to tell an employer they they morally or ethically oppose dispensing certain medications. It would be up to the employer and pharmacists to decide who would fill the prescription should it ever appear at the pharmacy. The opposing pharmacist would not be allowed to talk to the patient about his moral objections.
Today the board decided to take out the conscience clause in the proposed regulations.
Which would mean pharmacists do not have to fill a prescription in instances where the drug is illegal, harmful to the patient -or fraudulent.
The board could make a decision on the updated regulations early next year.