Monday, June 05, 2006

A letter to the governor

Dear Governor Gregoire,

On Memorial Day of this year, I went to our local walk-in clinic with heart palpitations. The condition turned out not to be life-threatening (at least for the time being), but the attending physician gave me a prescription anyway, just to make sure.

Here in Moses Lake, we have eight pharmacies, yet only one of those was open on Memorial Day, and that one didn't have my prescription in stock. I was forced to wait until the following afternoon when a special order could be delivered. Although the pharmacist was willing to refer me to another provider, her help was of no use, with other pharmacies not open.

Governor, you are currently emerging as a strong advocate for patients' rights vis-a-vis pharmacies, and so this seems like a situation in which you can be counted on to speak up. It is intolerable that although my doctor had prescribed me a medication, the pharmacists in Moses Lake took it upon themselves to make my health care decisions for me, by denying me my medication until they saw fit to open for business. I respectfully request that, as you consider what course of action to take regarding recalcitrant pharmacists, you include a proviso that all pharmacies must be open for business at any time of the day or night, every day of the year; and must stock any medication that a doctor might prescribe, no matter what it may be. For too long, patients and consumers have been at the mercy of arrogant pharmacists who decide unilaterally what hours they will work and what medications they will have available. This time it was heart medicine, but next time, it could be pain relievers, or hemorrhoid cream, or even Viagra. This tyranny of the so-called "pharmaceutical professionals" must be stopped now, before it gets out of hand. My health care decisions are between me and my doctor, and the pharmacist's job is to comply with that.

I was heartened to see how seriously you take this issue, as evidenced by your opposition to pharmacists whose religion prohibits them from dispensing the "morning-after pill." However, there are other reasons beside religion that a pharmacist might deny medication to a patient, as exemplified by my own case. Therefore, I am certain that while you are bringing Washington's pharmacists to heel and squelching religious exemptions, you will do the fair and even-handed thing by prohibiting them from closing or running out of medications as well. This way, nobody will ever be able to say that you made a special case under pressure from Planned Parenthood or NARAL.

(Edited and sent. Via Wshington State Political Report.)

No comments: