Protection of conscience bill passes in Indiana

Sean Murphy*

Indiana Senate Bill 201, proposed by Senator Liz Brown, passed the Indian Senate by a vote of 38-8 and will be sent to Goveror Eric Holcomb for signature. Existing Indiana law protects freedom of conscience for physicians, nurses and institutional employees in relation to surgical abortion. Bill 201 amends the statute to include medical abortion and extends protection to physician assistants and pharmacists.

Chamber of Pharmacists warns professionals against incorrect dispensing of Morning After Pill

Malta Independent

Rebekah Cilia

The Chamber of Pharmacists (Kamra tal-Ispizjara) has sent an email to its members stating that there is a standard question protocol that pharmacists must follow when dispensing the Morning After Pill without a prescription.

These guidelines, the email said, are professional tools and should be kept confidential.

The Chamber also noted that pharmacists should avoid engaging in public discussions on social media. “The Chamber reprimands pharmacists who do not uphold such standards bringing the profession to disrepute.” [Full text]

Home abortions ‘could see more objections from GPs and pharmacists’

BBC News

A midwife who campaigned for staff to opt out of abortion work fears plans for “at home” abortions could see a rise in objections from health staff.

Mary Doogan lost her fight to not be responsible for other colleagues involved in terminations.

She thinks the plans to allow women to take the second abortion pill at home will implicate GPs and pharmacists.

She supports a law change to extend conscientious objection to those not directly involved with the process. . . [Full Text]

Conscientious objectors – ‘Pharmacists have right to refuse to sell the MAP’

Authority set to issue guidelines

Times of Malta

Claire Caruana

As “independent healthcare professionals”, pharmacists had every right to refuse to sell the morning-after pill if it went against their moral beliefs, Malta Chamber of Pharmacists president Mary Ann Sant Fournier said yesterday.

Ms Sant Fournier’s comments came in the wake of a decision by the Medicines Authority that the contraceptive could be sold over the counter.

“One must emphasise the status that pharmacists enjoy as independent healthcare professionals and their right to conscientious objection should be upheld at all times,” Ms Sant Fournier said when contacted. . . [Full text]

Customers claim Walgreens refuses to fill legitimate prescriptions

wftv.com

Several Walgreens customers contacted Action 9, claiming that the pharmacy chain refuses to fill their pain prescriptions.

Walgreens has a policy to curb narcotics abuse, but Action 9’s Todd Ulrich found that the company won’t reveal its guidelines, and its secret policy can punish legitimate customers, too.

Manuel Rabell’s back pain was so bad that his doctor prescribed the potent painkiller hydrocodone. But at Walgreens, the pharmacist refused to fill it, saying that it didn’t fit their policy guidelines. [Full text]

 

Doctors refusing to prescribe statins

Two in three family GPs refuse to follow NHS advice to give statins to 40 per cent of adults, survey finds

The Telegraph

Laura Donnelly, and Edward Malnick

Two thirds of GPs are refusing to comply with controversial NHS advice to prescribe statins to millions more adults, polling has found.

Family doctors said guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), advising 40 per cent of adults to take the pills, were “simplistic”. They insisted they would not allow the “mass medicalisation” of the public.

The guidelines, published in July, say drugs to protect against strokes and heart attacks should be offered to anyone with a one in 10 chance of developing heart disease within a decade.

It means 17.5 million adults, including most men aged over 60 and women over 65, are now eligible for the drugs, which cost less than 10p a day.

A number of cardiologists have defended the guidance, which Nice says could cut 50,000 deaths a year from strokes and heart attacks.

But the advice has divided experts, with prominent doctors accusing Nice’s experts of being too close to the pharmaceutical industry. [Full Text]

Botched execution sparks outcry in US

Bioedge

Xavier Symons

Another botched execution in the USA has reignited debate over the death penalty. Arizona man Joseph Rudolph Wood took almost two hours to die after being injected with the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone. The two drugs are a new barbiturate combination being trialled in a number of US states.

According to witnesses, Wood gasped for air hundreds of times before succumbed to the drugs. “It was very disturbing to watch…like a fish on shore gulping for air”, said reporter Troy Hayden. “I counted 660 times that he gasped,” said Arizona Republic journalist Michael Kiefer.

Just two months ago BioEdge reported on a similar botched execution in Oklahoma.

Shortly after the execution, Arizona governor Jan Brewer issued a statement in which she ordered a full review of the execution process.

She was nevertheless adamant that the execution had been lawful and did not involve undue pain: “One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer” her statement said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona issued a statement calling for a moratorium on executions. “What happened today to Mr. Wood was an experiment that the state did its best to hide,” Executive Director Alessandra Soler said.

The new drugs being used are intended to replace others that pharmaceutical companies now refuse to sell to US correctional facilities. The drug midazolam causes unconsciousness in a patient, while hydromorphone shuts down breathing and induces cardiac arrest.


cclicense-some-rightsThis article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation to Bioedge. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

Embargo on lethal drug stops executions and assisted suicides in US

 Bioedge

Michael Cook

A shortage of a lethal drug is stopping both executions and assisted suicide in the United States. The supply of Nembutal, the drug of choice for executing prisoners in many American states and for assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington state, has dried up because its European manufacturer, the Danish company Lundbeck, refuses to supply it for use in executions. This has had an unintended consequence: patients in Oregon who want physician-assisted suicide cannot get it.

In a recent, widely-reported execution, the state of Oklahoma tried a three-drug cocktail as a substitute for Nembutal (also called pentobarbital or sodium thiopental) last month, but the prisoner, Clayton Lockett, appeared to die in great pain. So patients in Oregon are not going to be using that. A second-best drug, secobarbital, costs between US$1,500 and $2,300-more than five times pentobarbital and it is still hard to obtain.

The botched execution has dismayed lobbyists for assisted suicide because it suggests that a satisfactory substitute for Nembutal will be hard to find. According to the Wilamette Week, an Oregon newspaper, “Advocates would like to expand the policy across the country, and their concerns about bad publicity hampering that rollout appear to account for their reluctance to discuss Oregon’s shortage.”

The assisted suicide lobby, therefore, has turned to other solutions. Compassion & Choices (the rebranded Hemlock Society) has asked the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to allow a pharmacy to manufacture the drug from raw materials.

“Providing this service is important to Oregonians, and I’m very concerned about what appears to be a complete lack of availability of the drug we’ve historically used,” State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (who is also a doctor who dispenses assisted suicide prescriptions) told Wilamette Week. “What I’ve been told by the pharmacists is the drug is completely unavailable, and we should not prescribe it.”

The irony that one group lobbying against death is frustrating the work of another group lobbying for death was not lost on bioethics gadfly Wesley J. Smith. “It seems to me that if the drugs are wrong to use in lawful executions, they are also wrong to prescribe to people who want to kill themselves. Death-causing is death-causing, and that ain’t medicine,” he wrote in the National Review.

There are other ironies. It is widely acknowledged that it is against medical ethics for doctors to participate in executions. However, Oregon is one of the few states that mandates physician participation in an execution. And anticipating objections by a doctor’s colleagues, it has banned sanctions against him (or her) for participating in an execution.


This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation to Bioedge. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

NHS to give sex change drugs to nine-year-olds: Clinic accused of ‘playing God’ with treatment that stops puberty

Mail on Sunday

Sanchez Manning, Stephen Adams

Children as young as nine will be given controversial drugs on the NHS to prepare them for sex-swap surgery, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The treatment, which halts the onset of adulthood, is aimed at youngsters who believe they are trapped in the wrong body. But critics accused the clinic offering the puberty- postponing injections of ‘playing God’.

‘I think many people will be horrified at the thought of a nine-year-old being provided with a drug that effectively stops them developing and maturing naturally,’ said Conservative MP Andrew Percy.

Others insisted that undisputed research shows that the vast majority of under-16s who are troubled about their gender do not go on to take the drastic step of surgery. Many turn out to be gay, but no longer feel confused about whether they are male or female.

Although the gender treatment is reversible, there are concerns about the long-term effects on brain development, bone growth and fertility.

The drugs, known as hypothalamic blockers, stunt the development of sexual organs so less surgery is required if a child chooses to change sex after reaching adolescence. . . [Full text]