August 11, 2011

Christian pharmacists concerned over new morning-after pill rules

by Jan Harris

New guidelines on dispensing morning-after-pills and IVF drugs put employers’ rights above an employee’s religious beliefs, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Christian pharmacists who believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception may object to dispensing morning-after-pills because they prevent a fertilised egg being implanted in the womb.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) issued new guidelines last week which require pharmacists to refer a customer to a specified chemist who is willing to dispense the pills, if they do not wish to do so themselves.

They must also ring the chemist to check that the drug is in stock.

According to Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, the guidance is flawed.

“What many people do not seem to grasp is the fact that if you are refusing to do something because it is morally objectionable you cannot be obliged to recommend someone else,” he said.

The new guidelines require a pharmacist to inform a potential
employer if they do not wish to dispense morning-after-pills on religious grounds and there is concern that this could mean they would be discriminated against in the recruitment process.

The guidelines also require pharmacists to make drugs available for IVF, a process which often involves embryos being destroyed.

The guidelines are not mandatory and will be reviewed in a years’ time.

In related news the US Food and Drug Administration (FD) has warned that a fake morning-after-pill called Evital is on the market.

The FDA warns that it has not been approved and may not be safe or effective in preventing pregnancy.

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