A Georgia woman claims that her local Walmart pharmacy refused to fill a prescription to help treat her for a miscarriage, and that the pharmacist on duty “shamed” her when she questioned her about it, WGXA in Macon is reporting.
Brittany Cartrett claimed on Facebook that she’d recently suffered a miscarriage. Her doctor gave her two options to help her body rid itself of the non-viable fetus: an invasive surgical procedure known as a “D and C,” or a medicine that in some cases can induce abortion.
“After discussion with my Doctor, we decided to go the less invasive route and choose a medicine that I could take at home to help miscarry naturally, especially since my body wants to hold on to the little miracle.”
Brittany’s doctor phoned a prescription for Misoprostol to the Walmart Pharmacy in Midgeville, but was told that the pharmacist on duty would not fill the prescription.
“They WON’T fill it. Not that they CAN’T. But they WON’T.”
Ms. Cartrett and her doctor found another pharmacist to fill the prescription, and she got her medicine without any further complications. But she decided to go to the Walmart pharmacy to see what was the problem with her original prescription.
“I ask [the pharmacist] why they refused to fill the other prescription I had. She looks at me, over her nose and says ‘Because I couldn’t think of a reason why you would need that prescription.’….. Excuse me?! I tell her my reasons for needing it, and she says ‘Well, I don’t feel like there is a reason why you would need it, so we refused to fill it.'”
Macon, Georgia, TV station WGXA picked up on Brittany’s story and decided to investigate.
Because Ms. Cartrett’s claims about the pharmacist are a private medical matter, and patient privacy laws prohibit medical care providers from discussing confidential patient matters with anyone but the patient, WGXA could not independently verify Brittany’s claims.
However, a WGXA reporter was able to speak to a Walmart pharmacist off-camera, who claimed to be aware of the situation but would not comment further.
Georgia law allows for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on their personal beliefs, and has allowed this for at least 15 years, says a law professor who spoke to WGXA. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that the company also allows its pharmacists to use their discretion when filling prescriptions.
“Our pharmacists fill prescriptions on a case by case basis every day in our stores throughout the country and we encourage them to exercise their professional judgment in doing so.”
Other states have similar laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on their personal beliefs; however, most of those other states have a clause added to the law requiring the pharmacy to have a backup pharmacist on-call to fill the prescription, so the patient won’t have to go to other pharmacies for their medicine. Georgia’s law does not have such a clause.
Brittany Cartrett doesn’t believe that it’s right for pharmacists to be able to decide on their own which prescriptions they will and will not fill.
“It’s very frustrating because who is the pharmacist to make that decision?”
Do you believe the Georgia pharmacist acted within her rights when she refused to fill a prescription? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia]