Woman refused morning-after pill she’d paid for because of pharmacist’s ‘personal reasons’

Posted On 18 Jun 2019 at 7:42 am

An investigation has been launched into how a Brighton woman was being refused emergency contraception after she’d paid for it because of the pharmacist’s “personal reasons”.

Siani, a mother of one from Hollingdean, was prescribed the morning after pill after an online consultation with a doctor from Lloyds Pharmacy on Sunday following a condom failure.

She paid £30 for the prescription, and drove to Sainsbury’s in Lewes Road where the only branch of Lloyds in the city was open.

But when she called up to the pharmacy from the car park to check it was ready, the pharmacist told her she wouldn’t dispense it because of undisclosed personal reasons.

Lloyds Pharmacy has now apologised and says it is investigating how this happened, adding that the pharmacist involved was a locum and not a permanent employee.

Siani, 41, said: “I’m just absolutely furious that a big successful company like Lloyds think it’s acceptable to offer a service that blatantly discrimates against women by having their only store that is open on a Sunday staffed by a lone pharmacist who refuses to provide essential women’s health services like emergency contraception.

“I’ve paid more than £30 for this, in advance, with no warning, and been told when I rang to collect that I could either go to Newhaven or collect the next day because of the pharmacist refusing to dispense.

“This is a time sensitive medication, and that’s just not offering any appropriate alternative at all. I don’t think it’s remotely acceptable for a company to do that.

“I’m stroppy and well off enough to take the financial hit of waiting for a refund (possibly two to three days) and going elsewhere and complaining, but what if I was some teenaged girl with a limited income?

“How is it acceptable that Lloyds create a situation where someone who will not dispense is working alone in the only branch open?”

A spokesman for Lloyds Pharmacy said: “The health and wellbeing of our patients is always our priority.

“We encourage our pharmacists to use their professional judgement but expect them to follow the guidelines from the regulator with responsibility for the profession (GPhC).

“In this case, there is more the pharmacist could have done for the patient and we are following that up.

“We are very sorry for the distress and frustration this has caused the patient and we have tried to contact her to apologise and make sure that she received the support she needed.

  1. MikeyA Reply

    If you can’t fulfil the full requirements of the job, get another job!

  2. Valerie Reply

    The GPhC guidelines? f its legal it must be dispensed! That locum should be struck off!!

  3. Laura Reply

    Time limited the longer it takes the more chance of pregnancy and abortion.

    I don’t care about their views dispense the stock if its there.

    She should sue that locum directly.

  4. David Jones Reply

    Sack the sick bastard

  5. Argusnot Reply

    I’m more shocked at the £30 cost – highway robbery!

  6. Malcolm Brooks Reply

    I agree if for personal reasons you cannot perform the full functions of your job then find another job.

  7. Alan Mansfield Reply

    I am a pharmacist. I regularly supply EHC to patients and feel this is an important part of my job. Unfortunately, from the beginning, the responsible pharmacist has been able to choose not to supply for religious or personal reasons. But only if they actively sought out alternative supply arrangements for the patient. I feel this situation was poorly managed by Lloyds. Essentially, the rules were followed. The failure is not checking the the pharmacist would make the supply at the chosen store. The online part of the process should have managed this for potential patients.
    My recommendation would be as follows:-
    1) Locum pharmacist’s should give advance notice of their belief, with respect to EHC, prior to booking. That way if the store is likely to be one of very few stores open on Sunday on the EHC supply list, the company can choose a pharmacist appropriate for the location.
    2) Agencies should keep records of all pharmacist’s that are happy to supply EHC via prescription or sale as well as those that have a PGD certificate to do so. This would not affect bookings. But would give advance information to the company to advise stores and any online services.

    To sum up. Pharmacist’s have a right to choose. But the information should be captured to assist stores and online services to prevent this type of situation recurring. This should not be allowed to affect a pharmacist’s bookings, but to provide accurate information to stores and patients.

  8. Gilbert Bligh Reply

    the only accurate information needed here is why she did not dispense – was the pharmacist a vegan?

    • K P Reply

      Why are you jumping to veganism, Gilbert? And what would that have to do with it? So many medications contain non-vegan ingredients that it would be extremely difficult to be a pharmacist and only dispense the medications that fit with veganism.
      This is very clearly a Catholic/Christian thing, although I don’t know what she was doing working on a Sunday then.

  9. Shay Reply

    I’m sorry why does a pharmacist have the right to choose what he/she will and won’t dispense based on religious beliefs??!? Don’t choose that career if you cannot fulfil all that the job requires of you.
    This is madness!! Are we now going to have doctors refusing to prescribe because of religious belief. Paramedics that won’t save a life because it’s that of a homosexual and their god doesn’t agree with it?!
    This country is a joke! Allowing people to dictate what we can and can’t have because of their personal belief.

  10. William Shaw Reply

    The GPhC rules need to be amended to compel pharmacists to supply contraception, morning after pills or any other legally obtainable medication. Allowing some religious objections is appalling. Freedom of religion should never be so absurdly extended to allow inflicting your faith on others, especially when it can cause them harm. Until the GPhC get their act together Lloyd’s, Boots etc should amend their terms of employment to create the compulsion.

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