© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

NAMPA — Planned Parenthood has filed a letter of complaint with the Idaho Board of Pharmacy after a Nampa pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for a drug because the medication isn’t used to cause abortions.

Idaho Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Mark Johnston confirmed that the board received the complaint alleging that on Nov. 6, a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription ordered by one of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s Boise-based nurse practitioners.

The prescription was for a Planned Parenthood patient for Methergine, a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion.

“Methergine is not an abortifacient and it serves multiple purposes in postpartum care,” the practitioner wrote in her complaint. “I believe the pharmacist wrongly applied the conscience protections.

The Idaho Legislature passed a law last year that gives pharmacists and other health care providers the right to refuse to provide any health care service or dispense any drugs that violate their conscience. Lawmakers could readdress the issue this session.

The pharmacist worked for the Walgreens at 932 Nampa-Caldwell Blvd., at the intersection with Midland Boulevard.

Planned Parenthood officials said in the complaint that the pharmacist inquired if the patient needed the drug for post-abortion care. The nurse refused to answer the question based on confidentiality of health information.

According to Planned Parenthood, the pharmacist then stated that if the nurse practitioner did not disclose that information, she would not fill the prescription. The nurse alleged that the pharmacist hung up when asked for a referral to another pharmacy that would fill the prescription.

“Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest public affairs staff has since contacted Walgreens’ corporate office, and corrective action was taken with the Nampa pharmacist,” Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s director of public affairs, said.

- Vickie Holbrook comments on this issue in her From the Editor Blog

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