Thank you Charles Lewis once again for an excellent and timely article on a very important issue! Although it is inaccurate to say that I ever raised the ire of customers and colleagues over refusing to fill prescriptions for morning-after pills, it is true to say that I refuse to fill them or to refer for the drug for the reasons stated in the article. It was in Toronto that a colleague suggested I leave my beliefs at the door and in Vancouver that a pharmacy manager warned me about “imposing my morality”, after which I was let go under other pretexts. Why is this significant? Because this is a national problem for pharmacists, and not limited to Calgary, where yet another pharmacist, Maria Bizecki suffered a lengthy suspension from her job for kindly asking a customer to come back for the product she requested next day when someone else would be all too happy to meet her needs. In Ontario, pharmacist Michael Izzotti was also severely reprimanded when a doctor made a formal complaint to the Ontario College of Pharmacists; Michael had merely asked the doctor to please fax in the prescription so a colleague could take care of it next day. Many other pharmacists will not come forward with their stories for fear of losing their livelihood.
When convenience takes precedence over the basic human rights of freedom of conscience and religion, our Canadian democracy is in very bad shape indeed!
For more on this, please see “The ‘Hijacking’ of Moral Conscience from Pharmacy Practice: A Canadian Perspective” at www.theannals.com or at www.culturalrenewal.ca