Court Rules Pharmacies Can’t Refuse Medications on Religious Grounds

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A federal appeals court decision handed down on Thursday says that pharmacies cannot on religious grounds deny customers medicine. If the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs it would have permitted pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions based on religious grounds. In this course case, it would have allowed the pharmacy in question to deny emergency contraceptives and potentially allowed them to deny things including “diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV-related medications, and Valium.”

According to ThinkProgress: “[The case] Stormans v. Wiesman concerned a 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.” Intervenors 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 plaintiffs.”

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