Bill S1285-2011

Establishes duties for pharmacies when pharmacists employed by such pharmacy refuse to fill prescriptions on the basis of personal beliefs

Establishes duties for pharmacies when pharmacists employed by such pharmacy refuse to fill prescriptions on the basis of personal beliefs; requires a pharmacy to ensure the prescription is filled by another pharmacist; requires the pharmacy to inform individuals of items not in stock and requires such items to be ordered by another pharmacist without delay; sets forth penalty provisions.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • Jan 6, 2011: REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1285

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to establishing certain duties for pharmacies when pharmacists employed by the pharmacies refuse to fill prescriptions on the basis of personal beliefs

PURPOSE: To insure that an individual's right to religious beliefs and worship cannot impede an individual's legal access to legal prescriptions, including contraception.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section One is the Legislative Intent.

Section Two amends the education law by adding a new section 6810-a requiring that a pharmacy receiving and filling prescriptions shall maintain compliance with the following provisions:

(a) if a product is in stock and a pharmacist employed by a pharmacy refuses on the basis of a personal belief to fill a valid prescription for such product, the pharmacy ensures, subject to the consent of the individual presenting the prescription in any case in which the individual has reason to know of the refusal, that the prescription is, without delay, filled by another pharmacist employed by such pharmacy; or

(b) if the product is not in stock:

(i) Inform individual that product is not in stock but the pharmacy may order it;

(ii) subject to consent of individual, product is ordered without delay

A pharmacy may not employ any pharmacist who engages in conduct with intent to prevent or deter an individual from filling a valid prescription.

A pharmacy may not refuse to return a prescription form to an individual after refusing to fill the prescription or order the product.

The refusal to transfer prescription information to another pharmacy for refill dispensing is lawful, if the individual requests such transfer;

A pharmacist may not subject an individual to humiliation or otherwise harassing the individual.

A pharmacist may not breach medical confidentiality with respect to the prescription or threaten to breach such confidentiality.

Any pharmacy in violation of this provision shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 dollars per day of violation,

not to exceed $500,000 dollars for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding.

An individual may pursue a civil cause of action against a pharmacy for any violation of this section.

EXISTING LAW: New bill.

JUSTIFICATION: It is incomprehensible that in the 21st century, we are living in a time where women are having to fight for their right to obtain birth control pills. Something must be done to address the growing numbers of women who can not get their birth control prescriptions fined because of individual pharmacist's personal objections.

This bill requires a pharmacy to ensure that if a pharmacist has a personal objection to filling a legal prescription for a drug or device, the pharmacy will ensure that the prescription is filled without delay by another pharmacist who does not have a personal objection. This act also ensures that if a prescription drug is not in stock, and it is a type of drug that the pharmacy routinely carries, such a drug will be ordered without delay.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.1521/A.8949 (Died in Senate Higher Ed./Died in Assembly Higher Ed.) 2009: S.1521/A.8949 (Died in Senate Higher Ed./Died in Assembly Higher Ed.)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE:; This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1285 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 6, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. DUANE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to establishing certain duties for pharmacies when pharmacists employed by the pharmacies refuse to fill prescriptions on the basis of personal beliefs THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature finds that an indi- vidual's right to religious beliefs and worship is a protected, funda- mental right in the state of New York and that an individual's right to access legal contraception is a protected, fundamental right in the state of New York. The legislature thereby recognizes that an individ- ual's right to religious belief and worship cannot impede an individ- ual's access to legal prescriptions, including contraception. S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 6810-a to read as follows: S 6810-A. DUTIES OF A PHARMACY; FILLING VALID PRESCRIPTIONS. 1. A PHARMACY RECEIVING AND FILLING PRESCRIPTIONS SHALL MAINTAIN COMPLIANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: (A) IF A PRODUCT IS IN STOCK AND A PHARMACIST EMPLOYED BY A PHARMACY REFUSES ON THE BASIS OF A PERSONAL BELIEF TO FILL A VALID PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCH PRODUCT, THE PHARMACY ENSURES, SUBJECT TO THE CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL PRESENTING THE PRESCRIPTION IN ANY CASE IN WHICH THE INDIVID- UAL HAS REASON TO KNOW OF THE REFUSAL, THAT THE PRESCRIPTION IS, WITHOUT DELAY, FILLED BY ANOTHER PHARMACIST EMPLOYED BY SUCH PHARMACY; OR (B) SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF THIS PARAGRAPH, IF A PRODUCT IS NOT IN STOCK AND A PHARMACIST EMPLOYED BY THE PHARMACY REFUSES ON THE BASIS OF A PERSONAL BELIEF OR ON THE BASIS OF PHARMACY POLICY TO ORDER OR TO OFFER TO ORDER THE PRODUCT WHEN PRESENTED WITH A VALID PRESCRIPTION FOR THE PRODUCT, THE PHARMACY SHALL ENSURE:
(I) THAT THE INDIVIDUAL PRESENTING THE PRESCRIPTION IS IMMEDIATELY INFORMED THAT THE PRODUCT IS NOT IN STOCK BUT MAY BE ORDERED BY THE PHARMACY; AND (II) SUBJECT TO THE CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL, THAT THE PRODUCT IS, WITHOUT DELAY, ORDERED BY ANOTHER PHARMACIST EMPLOYED BY SUCH PHARMACY. 2. THE PHARMACY SHALL NOT EMPLOY ANY PHARMACIST WHO ENGAGES IN ANY CONDUCT WITH THE INTENT TO PREVENT OR DETER AN INDIVIDUAL FROM FILLING A VALID PRESCRIPTION FOR A PRODUCT OR FROM ORDERING SUCH PRODUCT, OTHER THAN THE SPECIFIC CONDUCT DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDING: (A) THE REFUSAL TO RETURN A PRESCRIPTION FORM TO THE INDIVIDUAL AFTER REFUSING TO FILL THE PRESCRIPTION OR ORDER THE PRODUCT, IF THE INDIVID- UAL REQUESTS THE RETURN OF SUCH FORM; (B) THE REFUSAL TO TRANSFER PRESCRIPTION INFORMATION TO ANOTHER PHAR- MACY FOR REFILL DISPENSING WHEN SUCH A TRANSFER IS LAWFUL, IF THE INDI- VIDUAL REQUESTS SUCH TRANSFER; (C) SUBJECTING THE INDIVIDUAL TO HUMILIATION OR OTHERWISE HARASSING THE INDIVIDUAL; OR (D) BREACHING MEDICAL CONFIDENTIALITY WITH RESPECT TO THE PRESCRIPTION OR THREATENING TO BREACH SUCH CONFIDENTIALITY. 3. PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT ORDINARILY STOCKED SHALL APPLY ONLY WITH RESPECT TO A PHARMACY ORDERING A PARTICULAR PRODUCT FOR AN INDIVIDUAL PRESENTING A VALID PRESCRIPTION FOR THE PRODUCT, AND DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PHARMACY TO KEEP SUCH PRODUCT IN STOCK; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION HAVE NO APPLICABILITY WITH RESPECT TO A PRODUCT FOR A HEALTH CONDITION IF THE PHARMACY DOES NOT KEEP IN STOCK ANY PRODUCT FOR SUCH CONDITION. 4. ANY PHARMACY IN VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER DAY OF VIOLATION, NOT TO EXCEED FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR ALL VIOLATIONS ADJUDICATED IN A SINGLE PROCEEDING. 5. ANY PERSON AGGRIEVED AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION OF A REQUIREMENT OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION MAY, IN ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDIC- TION, COMMENCE A CIVIL ACTION AGAINST THE PHARMACY INVOLVED TO OBTAIN APPROPRIATE RELIEF, INCLUDING ACTUAL AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES, INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, AND A REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEE AND COST. 6. A CIVIL ACTION PURSUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION FOUR OR FIVE OF THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE COMMENCED AGAINST A PHARMACY AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE FIVE-YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING ON THE DATE ON WHICH THE PHARMACY ALLEGEDLY ENGAGED IN THE VIOLATION INVOLVED. 7. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: (A) THE TERM "EMPLOY", WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICES OF A PHARMACIST, INCLUDES ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE PROVISIONS OF SUCH SERVICES; (B) THE TERM "WITHOUT DELAY", WITH RESPECT TO A PHARMACY FILLING A PRESCRIPTION FOR A PRODUCT OR ORDERING THE PRODUCT, MEANS WITHIN THE USUAL AND CUSTOMARY TIMEFRAME AT THE PHARMACY FOR FILLING PRESCRIPTIONS FOR PRODUCTS FOR THE HEALTH CONDITION INVOLVED OR FOR ORDERING SUCH PRODUCTS, RESPECTIVELY. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.

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