In Michigan, a controversial situation arose when a Meijer pharmacist refused to fill a prescription a woman needed after suffering a miscarriage.
Rachel Peterson was mortified when the pharmacist accused her of lying and refused to fill her prescription due to his own personal religious beliefs because the prescribed drug got used for abortions.
Peterson told BuzzFeed News the incident occurred in July. A few days earlier, she received devastating news that she had a pregnancy loss due to miscarriage, and that the doctor gave her the option to “let things progress naturally,” she said.
“They recommended I take the medication prescribed to me … so I didn’t have to go through a more invasive procedure,” said Peterson. Her OB-GYN prescribed Cytotec, a medicine that helps to induce contractions and complete a miscarriage.
“He said he could not in good conscious give this medicine ‘[be]cause he was a good Catholic man,’” Peterson said the pharmacist told her over the phone. “I asked and I said, ‘are you serious right now?’ I could not believe this was happening.”
She said she then felt compelled to have to explain to the pharmacist that her “ultrasound did not have a heartbeat, and I needed the medicine to further the process along.” But the pharmacist would not budge, nor would he transfer her prescription to another location. Fortunately, she said she was able to call another local pharmacy, which was able to fairly quickly and efficiently prepare the medicine that she needed.
“I did not think someone could not empathize with what someone else was going through, and projected their religious beliefs on them,”
Christina Fecher, a spokesperson from Meijer, told that while the company cannot comment on personal matters due to HIPAA laws, they have “thoroughly investigated these allegations.”
“A pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription based upon religious beliefs. However, our procedure requires the prescription to then be filled by another pharmacist in the store. If no other pharmacist is available, the pharmacist must consult with the patient to arrange for the transfer of the prescription to another pharmacy that is convenient to them,” she said. “A pharmacist who fails to follow this procedure is in violation of our process.”