Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
US flag


 Senate File 2647, an act relating to health (2005-2006)

This bill exempts objecting pharmacists from providing or referring for a drug to which they object for reasons of conscience, but imposes a number of conditions beyond those required in the companion bill in the house (HF3032). Note, among other things, that the bill gives priority to the economic interests of the pharmacy over the freedom of conscience of the pharmacist. [Administrator]
Original Text
Section 1. [151.415] Prohibition Against Refusing to Dispense a Legend Drug or Device.
Subdivision 1. Prohibition.

(a) No pharmacist shall refuse to dispense or obstruct a patient in obtaining a legend drug or device that has been legally prescribed or ordered for that patient. A violation of this section constitutes unprofessional conduct by the pharmacist and shall subject the pharmacist to disciplinary action by the Board of Pharmacy.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a pharmacist shall dispense drugs and devices pursuant to a lawful order or prescription unless one of the following circumstances exists:

(1) based solely on the pharmacist's professional training and judgment, dispensing the drug or device pursuant to the prescription or order would adversely affect the known medical condition of the patient for whom the prescription or order was prescribed due to therapeutic duplications, drug-disease contraindications, drug interactions, including serious interactions with other prescription and over-the-counter medications, incorrect dosage or duration of drug treatment, drug allergy interactions, or drug abuse or misuse;

(2) the legend drug or device is not in stock. If an order or prescription cannot be dispensed because the drug or device is not in stock, the pharmacist shall take one of the following actions:

(i) immediately notify the patient and arrange for the drug or device to be delivered to the site or directly to the patient in a timely manner;

(ii) promptly transfer the prescription to another pharmacy known to stock the drug or device that is near enough to the site from which the prescription or order is transferred to ensure the patient has timely access to the drug or device; or

(iii) return the prescription to the patient and refer the patient to a pharmacy that stocks the prescribed drug or device to ensure that the patient has timely access to the drug or device; or

(3) the pharmacist refuses on sincerely held religious beliefs as defined in United States Code, title 42, section 2000e(j), to dispense a drug or device pursuant to an order or prescription. A pharmacist may object to dispensing a drug or device on this basis only if the pharmacist's objection can be reasonably accommodated by the same pharmacy without imposing an undue hardship on the patient or the employer and the pharmacy has established protocols that ensure that the patient has timely access to the prescribed drug or device by the same pharmacy despite the pharmacist's refusal to dispense the order or prescription. A pharmacy may require employees and prospective employees to notify the pharmacy in writing of the categories or types of prescriptions that the pharmacist refuses to dispense due to one of the above-stated grounds. In determining whether reasonable accommodation can be made without imposing an undue hardship on the patient or the employer, the following factors may be considered:

(i) whether the proposed accommodation ensures that the patient has timely access to the drug or device as dictated by the patient's needs or known medical condition;

(ii) the employer's financial costs in implementing the accommodation; and

(iii) the potential impact on the pharmacy's reputation or good will in the community due to failure to provide timely prescription services.

Subd. 2. Payment limitation. This section imposes no duty on a pharmacist to dispense a drug or device pursuant to a prescription or order without payment for the drug or device, including payment directly by the patient or through a third-party payer accepted by the pharmacist or payment of any required co-payment by the patient.