What Stormans vs. Wiesman Ruling Means for Your Pharmacy:
The latest legal decision handed down at the end of July once again places the Pharmacy profession in the public spotlight regarding provider versus patient rights. In the decision by a federal appeals court in the case of Stormans vs. Wiesman, it is once again demonstrated that Pharmacy owners and pharmacists do not have a constitutional right to refuse to dispense drugs, medications or medical devices that they may object to on religious grounds. The primary focus of the case was the Pharmacy’s right to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, but it could have also potentially enabled pharmacists to refuse to fill a long list of prescriptions, including diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV-related medications, etc.
The ruling in Stormans vs. Wiesman basically upholds the Washington Board of Pharmacy rule that forces pharmacists to dispense drugs contrary to their conscience, instead of allowing them to refer customers to other pharmacists as they are allowed to do in all 49 other states. Stormans vs. Wiesman concerned the Washington state rule that permits individual pharmacists to refuse to fill a particular prescription “so long as another pharmacist working for the pharmacy provides timely delivery,” but does not generally allow the pharmacy itself to refuse to deliver a prescription “even if the owner of the pharmacy has a religious objection.” Interveners in the case, who joined on the side of the state officials defending the rule, include an HIV-positive man and a woman with AIDS who feared that they would be denied “timely access to their prescription medications” if the court sided with these pharmacies. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of Legal Services Kristen Waggoner argues that one should not be forced to choose between their religious convictions and their family businesses and livelihoods, particularly when the state allows referrals for just about any other reason. “The premier medical and pharmaceutical associations all support the right of a provider to refer patients, and all other states allow such referrals. This decision will affect many facilities within the state, including Catholic hospitals and pharmacies, which have made clear they will not dispense these drugs,” he says.
If you have questions regarding this ruling, or questions on virtually any area of your pharmacy business or practice, we urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help. Healthcare Consultants is a leading national Pharmacy Consulting company offering expertise in all areas of pharmacy consulting. Known for being one of the nation’s leading pharmacy staffing companies for over two decades, Healthcare Consultants has been in the business of Pharmacy Consulting for over 25 years now. HCC is in the business of helping pharmacists establish, run, improve and make their businesses profitable. Known nationally as one of the industry leaders in providing a full range of professional pharmacy consultation services to its vast array of clients. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.