Pharmacists Allowed to Refuse to Issue Contraceptives

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ZAGREB, November 28, 2018 – The Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists’ Ethics and Deontology Commission has decided that a Zagreb pharmacist who refused to issue birth control pills to a patient did not violate the Chamber’s code of ethics on contraceptives, Hina learned from sources at the Chamber on Wednesday.

In making the decision on the issue, the chamber invoked an article of its code of ethics which says that a pharmacist has the right to conscientious objection if by doing so, they do not endanger the patient’s health and life.

That chamber said that it respected patients’ right to be given a medicine and pharmacists’ right to conscientious objection and wanted to remind its members of the importance of organising work in pharmacies in such a way to provide all patients with medicines and advice on their use.

Even though in the last five years conscientious objection was cited only two times as the reason for non-issuance of medicines in the pharmacy network, which has 1,187 pharmacies, steps should be taken to make sure that in such rare and isolated cases, patients are not denied the service of issuing a medicine, the chamber said.

Health Minister Milan Kujundžić recently commented on the case, describing it as unacceptable. He said that any patient has the right to obtain a medicine for which they have a prescription in any pharmacy and that a pharmacist “has the right to conscientious objection but not in their workplace.”

Chamber president Ana Soldo said that the Chamber’s Commission of Ethics was the highest body that can decide on such cases.

“They have made a decision that is in line with our code of ethics and I have nothing to add to that,” she said, according to Hina.

For more on the issue of abortion in Croatia, click here.


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