Nevada panel: Drugs must be dispensed regardless of beliefs |

Nevada panel: Drugs must be dispensed regardless of beliefs

RYAN PEARSON, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — No matter their beliefs, Nevada pharmacists couldn’t deny women birth-control pills or refuse to fill any other prescriptions under a bill advanced Tuesday by a Senate panel.

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani says her AB144 would allow the state Pharmacy Board to discipline any pharmacist who rejects a patient’s request, unless the druggist determined prescriptions were fake, illegal or included clashing recommendations from multiple doctors.

“It’s just this simple: a pharmacist has a duty to dispense,” the Las Vegas Democrat said.

The Democrat-backed measure previously passed the Assembly 26-16 largely along party lines. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved it Tuesday over objections from Sens. Ann O’Connell and Warren Hardy, both Las Vegas Republicans.

“A guy ought to have the right to be a conscientious objector,” Hardy said.

He said that someone turned down at one pharmacy could simply go to another, adding, “You’ve got options coming out your ears.”

Proponents said the bill would stop Catholics, Mormons and other pharmacists with religious objections from refusing to fill prescriptions for any drug, including contraceptives and “morning after” pills.

Giunchigliani’s original bill would have prohibited employers from disciplining pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions for religious reasons. But it also would have required that pharmacist arrange for another pharmacy to fill the prescription. The measure was amended amid concerns it interfered with business management.

Pat Elzy, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in Reno, said her organization was contacted by a woman whose pharmacist in Carson City refused to fill her birth control prescription. Elzy said she knows of no other similar cases in Nevada, though there is no mechanism for tracking such information.

AB144, which heads to the full Senate, doesn’t require a pharmacist to have all types of drugs on hand — so a pharmacist who is against dispensing certain drugs could simply not keep them in stock.