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Personal Stories
Exchanges with Walmart Regarding Filling Prescriptions

Posted: 04/14/2005

These unmodified exchanges were sent to us from a woman living in North Carolina.

Dear Wal-Mart Pharmacies,

All over the country I have noticed a disturbing trend of pharmacies refusing to fill women's prescriptions for birth control. When a woman and her doctor decide that a prescription for contraception is in the woman's best interest, a third party has no right to override that decision. Pharmacies must ensure that patients get their doctor-prescribed medication without delay or inconvenience. I ask that your company assure me and your other customers that no woman seeking prescription contraception will be turned away by your company's pharmacies.

No doubt a majority of your customers take for granted that women should be able to receive their birth control despite the personal beliefs of the individual pharmacist. Timely access to contraception is central to women's health, autonomy, and equality. We must trust women and their doctors to make their own reproductive health decisions.

I thank you, in advance, for protecting your customer's health by ensuring your pharmacy will guarantee women have unhindered access to their prescribed medications.

Thank you for your attention and support.

Sincerely,

Jennifer
Durham, NC


Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting us at Walmart.com regarding women?s prescriptions for birth control. Your comments and concerns are very important to us as we strive to meet your needs. Wal-Mart does not carry emergency contraceptives.

Our pharmacists may decline to fill a prescription based on personal convictions. However, they must find another pharmacist, either at Wal-Mart or another pharmacy, who can assist you by filling your prescription.

Again, we thank you for your comments regarding this issue.

Sincerely,

Customer Service at Walmart.com


Dear Customer Service at Walmart.com:

I believe it is wrong for a pharmacist as a
professional to refuse to fill a prescription based on personal beleifs. As a matter of fact I believe that is the definition of a professional, someone who does their job to the best of their ability based on their
duty to those they are serving and the job they have agreed to do rather than on their personal beliefs.

As mentioned in the earlier letter, a person and their doctor make such personal decisions and by the time they get to the pharmacists counter they have already determined their best course of action considering their own circumstances. It is not the place of a pharmacist to second guess this decision and try and impose their moral beliefs on someone else who may not agree. Everyone is entitled to their own belief system and everyone has the right to express their beliefs, they do not have the right to forcibly impose them on others especially when they have a job to do and have agreed to do that job. If a pharmacists has a problem filling prescriptions s/he has no business behind the counter and it is very wrong for Walmart to condone such behavior. I assure you that I will not use the Walmart pharmacy in future and will alert all of my like minded friends and family to this policy.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
Durham, NC



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