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June 20, 2005

Illinois R.Ph. sues over dispensing rule

Illinois R.Ph. sues over dispensing rule Another Illinois pharmacist has sued Gov. Rod Blagojevich over his order requiring pharmacies to promptly dispense birth control and emergency contraception scripts. The suit, which alleges the order violates state law by requiring R.Ph.s to act against their ethical and religious beliefs, is the third legal challenge contesting the governor's action.

Little support for R.Ph. refusal to dispense Pharmacists should not be able to refuse to dispense birth control scripts, according to 80% of the respondents in a survey by Lake Snell Perry Mermin & Associates. Only 16% of the 1,019 adults polled thought R.Ph.s should be able to refuse to fill scripts based on religious grounds, and 4% didn't know. While 87% of self-identified pro-choice respondents and 79% of those with mixed views on abortion were against giving R.Ph.s such discretion, 74% of pro-life respondents were also opposed to R.Ph.s' refusal to dispense.

Bill would require pharmacies to fill all legal Rxs A bipartisan group of four U.S. representatives has introduced a bill requiring pharmacies to fill all legal prescriptions. The bill was unveiled on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the Constitutional privacy right to use birth control. Similar to a bill introduced in the Senate, the legislation would require that if a pharmacist has a person-al objection to filling a script, the pharmacy must ensure that it is filled by another R.Ph. The objecting R.Ph. would not be allowed to refuse to return or transfer the script, harass or humiliate the patient, or breach patient confidentiality.

ASHP offers on-line reimbursement tool ASHP has launched a Web-based resource center to help hospital pharmacists understand reimbursement for drugs, including reimbursement changes mandated by CMS. The site includes frequently asked questions, news, coding issues, and CMS updates. Supported by a grant from Amgen, the resource center is at http://www.ashp.org/reimburse/.

Big Apple R.Ph.s face Rx dealing charges Six New York City pharmacists have been charged with supplying a mafia drug ring headed by associates of the Bonnano, Gambino, and Luchese crime families. The pharmacists allegedly diverted about 25,000 Vicodin (acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate, Abbott) tablets weekly to the ring, which distributed them to college campuses and nightclubs. The pharmacists earned about $50,000 per month, according to authorities. If convicted, they face maximum sentences ranging from 2.5 years to 5.5 years.

Florida court rules on R.Ph. duty to warn A Florida appeals court has ruled that pharmacists have a legal duty to warn patients about the risks of medications. In Powers v. Thobani, et al., the court rejected the state's precedent that under no circumstances could a complainant prove that a pharmacy acted in a negligent manner by failure to warn. The case involves a woman treated for neck and back pain who died from a drug overdose of oxycodone and diazepam. The suit alleges that the two defendant pharmacies filled scripts too soon and with drugs that were contraindicated. The defendants reportedly plan to appeal the ruling, which overturned a lower court's dismissal of the case.