The Herald reports:
A Wairoa pharmacist refuses to sell the emergency contraceptive pill over her counter because of personal beliefs.
Wairoa Pharmacy is the town’s only dispensary.
To be eligible to sell the emergency contraceptive pill, commonly referred to as the morning-after pill, pharmacists have to complete a course.
Owner Elsa Norvil says she will not do this, for personal reasons.
“There are alternatives in place and it is an ethical right whether or not one chooses to stock or dispense the emergency contraceptive pill,” she said.
She has every right not to stock it. I disagree with her beliefs, but she should be able to stand by them.
“I am prepared to dispense it on doctors’ instructions and believe this acknowledges other’s rights to access this service.”
Seems a fair compromise.
Some residents are concerned that limited local access could be contributing to Wairoa’s high teenage pregnancy rate.
Wairoa has no family planning facilities so the morning-after pill can be obtained only by doctor’s prescription or from school-based health services.
The pill can be taken up to 72 hours, or three days, following unprotected intercourse to prevent a pregnancy from progressing.
Concerned locals say the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board needs to make the pill more accessible. They point out it is available over the counter at pharmacies in other centres.
Wairoa people say they respect Miss Norvil’s views but because hers is the only pharmacy in town, other options need to be offered.
There is no monopoly on pharmacies. You don’t need permission to set another one up. So one solution is to find a pharmacist who wants to set up a competing pharmacy.
And Wairoa people might choose to prefer a pharmacy that is more customer focused and will supply the health needs of the population, regardless of views.