Pharmacist’s refusal to dispense diethylstilbestrol for contraceptive use

American journal of hospital pharmacy, Ethics, 1989


…”One Sunday afternoon. Attendant Jones from the facility arrives at Lakeside Hospital with an order for a dose of diethylstilbestrol (DES) that clearly is intended for postcoital contraception. Pharmacist Smith, the only pharmacist on duty, informs Attendant Jones that he will not fill the prescription…

… When Dr. Doe, the prescribing physician, learns of Pharmacist Smith’s response, she telephones Pharmacist Smith and explains that the drug must be administered that afternoon; the patient for whom the prescription is intended had sexual intercourse approximately two days ago, and the drug most likely will not be effective if it is administered on Monday. Pharmacist Smith remains adamant in his refusal to fill the prescription.

Is it within Pharmacist Smith’s rights to refuse to fill this prescription ?“…

Read the full paper (free access) on watermark.silverchair, 1989 Jul.


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