A Step Backward in Washington: State to Undo Rule Mandating Pharmacies Fill Prescriptions Without Discrimination

Amie Newman

The Board of Pharmacy for the state of Washington has officially submitted a proposal to rewrite its own rule, which mandated that pharmacies fill prescriptions "without delay or discrimination."

On Tuesday, August 17th the Washington State Board of Pharmacy made it official. They intend to revise the rules on pharmacy refusal in the state. From Planned Parenthood Votes Washington:

On Tuesday, August 17th, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy (BOP) issued an official notice that they intend to make a new pharmacy rule and end the requirement that pharmacies dispense medications without discrimination or delay.

We’ve previously reported on the events leading up to the board’s decision to revisit its own rule that pharmacies must fill all prescriptions, including emergency contraception, and preparing to defend that position in court.

The Pharmacy Board’s pro-choice position has shifted, apparently.  In response to these proposed changes, Lisa Stone, head of the women’s legal advocacy organization Legal Voice told Publicola,

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“This is a step backwards; the existing rule should not be discarded by the Board of Pharmacy. The existing rule has been upheld as constitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is also sound public policy. Washingtonians expect the Board of Pharmacy … to ensure that patients’ health care needs are paramount.”

The revamping of the rule still requires public input. Planned Parenthood’s political arm is calling for residents to write letters and advocate for retaining the current rule.

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