Bill S3146-2013

Prohibits pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons

Prohibits pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • Jan 30, 2013: REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION

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BILL NUMBER:S3146

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons

PURPOSE: To prohibit a pharmacist from refusing to dispense or refill a Prescription or non-prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration solely on the grounds that the dispensing or refill of the prescription or non-prescription would contravene the pharmacist's philosophical, moral or religious beliefs.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends § 6810 of the Education Law to provide that no pharmacist may refuse to dispense or refill a prescription or non-prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration solely based on the pharmacist's philosophical, moral or religious beliefs.

§ 2 is the effective date.

EXISTING LAW: New York State law does not currently have any statutory prohibition on so-called "pharmacist refusals."

JUSTIFICATION: As part of a broadening anti-choice strategy, an increasing number of physicians are refusing to write prescriptions for contraception and more pharmacists are refusing to dispense birth control, including emergency contraception (formerly known as the "morning-after pill"). Some states (Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and South Dakota) have enacted statutes that explicitly permit pharmacists to refuse to furnish contraceptives, or any prescription based on his or her moral beliefs. No state has enacted a statutory ban on "pharmacist refusals," although Massachusetts, Illinois and Wisconsin have taken administrative actions to prohibit the practice.

Prescription refusal is a disturbing trend that can jeopardize woman's reproductive health. Denying women their rights to timely access to health care is an act of discrimination that could lead to an increased number of unintended pregnancies.

Some pharmacists even go so far as to lecture women, humiliate them in public, or refuse to hand back the prescription after they refuse to fill it.

Illinois was the first state to issue a statewide regulation to address this growing problem. In April 2005, the Governor issued an emergency rule that requires pharmacies that stock emergency contraception to accept and fill prescriptions for contraceptives without delay. The Governor acted in response to complaints from two women who said that a Chicago pharmacist had refused to fill their prescriptions for emergency contraception.

Although the total number of pharmacist refusal incidents is unknown, reports of pharmacist refusal date back to 1990. An April, 2005 New York Times editorial cites some 180 reports of refusals in a six-month period last year. Planned Parenthood has documented incidents in Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois (Chicago), and New Hampshire. To date, there have not been any reported incidents in New York.

The moral or religious beliefs of a person's health care provider should not limit their access to basic health care- The refusal to fill a lawfully issued prescription is an indefensible abuse of power by pharmacists and an act of discrimination against women. Health care providers such as pharmacists have no business forcing their own moral or ethical views onto customers who may not share them, and those who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed should seek other employment.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:; None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Takes effect on the first of November next succeeding the date it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3146 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 30, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. KRUEGER, AVELLA, HASSELL-THOMPSON, MONTGOMERY -- 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 prohibiting pharma- cists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 6810 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 14 to read as follows: 14. NO PHARMACIST SHALL REFUSE TO DISPENSE OR REFILL A PRESCRIPTION OR NON-PRESCRIPTION DRUG APPROVED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION FOR RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION BY PHARMACIES SOLELY ON THE GROUNDS THAT TO DISPENSE OR REFILL THE PRESCRIPTION OR NON-PRESCRIPTION DRUG WOULD CONTRAVENE THE PHARMACIST'S PHILOSOPHICAL, MORAL, OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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