HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group Director Concerned Over Wyoming Proposal Allowing Pharmacists To Deny Prescriptions
Wyoming AIDS Project Director Pamela Reamer Williams said she fears that pharmacists might turn away HIV/AIDS patients if a proposal that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on personal beliefs is approved, the AP/Billings Gazette reports (AP/Billings Gazette, 9/28). The Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy on Oct. 5 is scheduled to consider a set of amended rules that includes a provision that would allow pharmacists to deny prescriptions based on personal beliefs as long as they tell patients where they could have their prescriptions filled. Currently, there are no specific rules in Wyoming requiring that pharmacists fill prescriptions, nor are there any specifications that allow them to reject prescriptions (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 9/23). Williams said she fears that HIV-positive patients might be turned away because some pharmacists might think the patient is gay or an injection drug user. "It is no secret to any of us that there are people in this state who have religious and moral objections to homosexuality," she said, adding, "[The proposal] is so broad that any pharmacist with any personal belief that is contrary to any particular drug is allowed to refuse to fill a prescription." Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Jim Carder said the proposal would protect patients. "If a pharmacist refused to fill the prescription, tore up the prescription or preached to the patient, there's really not a clear method for the board to deal with the situation," Carder said, adding, "By drafting this rule, we're going to require steps be taken if they are going to refuse to fill the prescription." Carder acknowledged that most of the public feedback he has received about the proposal has been negative (AP/Billings Gazette, 9/28). Lara Anzar, press secretary for Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D), last week said that the governor had not been informed of the proposed rule changes (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 9/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.