Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Contraception-Free Certification?

Ok. Can somebody help me out with this one?

I was passing through Brooklyn yesterday, and I spotted two pharmacies, which clearly cater to the local orthodox community, with similar signs in the door. The signs read something to the effect of:
We do NOT carry Plan B contraceptive!
I understand that these pharmacies are perfectly within their right to choose not to carry a product that in all likelihood is a controversial one in their neighborhood. But are the signs proclaiming the pharmacies to be a "Plan B-free" zone a customer service notification, to let people seeking the item know that they won't find it there? Or are they actually a badge of honor not unlike the "Shomer Shabbos" sign that was hanging just above it, or similar to a certificate of Kashrut on a restaurant's door?

Anyone know?

UPDATE: A commenter points out that if a pharmacy does not carry Plan B, it is required by law to advertise that fact. I assume there isn't much demand for Plan B contraception in Midwood, and therefore these Orthodox-owned pharmacies choose not to carry it - or do they choose not to do so over religious objections?

30 Comments:

Blogger Jak Black said...

Since contraception is a constitutional right, all pharmacies are legally obligated to carry any and all contraceptives. I can only imagine the grief some people give them over their brazen disregard for the Laws of man and heaven.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pharmacies are not obligated to carry Plan B, but are obligated to advertise the fact if they don't. This law is designed to embarrass conservative leaning pharmacists into selling this product.

9:37 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Pharmacies are not obligated to carry Plan B, but are obligated to advertise the fact if they don't.

Got it. So that explains the signs in the Orthodox-owned pharmacies.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

What is the halachic problem with Plan B?

Regarding Conservative-leanings of pharmacists; most pharmacies today are big chains run by public companies. Their only ideology is to make money. There is one Shomer Shabat Jewish-owned pharmacy in the Bronx. I don't know how they stay in business given the competition with the big chains.

10:27 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

What is the halachic problem with Plan B?

Not sure, which was sort of the impetus for this post.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.yoatzot.org/question/4742

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

For those of us unaware of what the heck Plan B was all about, I thank the above anonymous poster for the link.

I orginally thought that "Plan B" was similar to the Medicare Plan Q, which was superceded by the 1040EZ form and alternate sides of the street parking on Wednesdays.

My mistake.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

For those of us unaware of what the heck Plan B was all about, I thank the above anonymous poster for the link.

I orginally thought that "Plan B" was similar to the Medicare Plan Q, which was superceded by the 1040EZ form and alternate sides of the street parking on Wednesdays.

My mistake.

11:20 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

For those of us unaware of what the heck Plan B was all about, I thank the above anonymous poster for the link.


Sorry - I meant to include an explanatory link, but I guess I never did.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Shifra said...

"Pharmacies are not obligated to carry Plan B, but are obligated to advertise the fact if they don't. This law is designed to embarrass conservative leaning pharmacists into selling this product."

So yes, in their own weird way this IS a badge of honor for them.

If I was looking for ANY kind of contraception Brooklyn would be the last place I'd go - have you seen all those baby strollers!?

3:15 PM  
Anonymous tova said...

Every time I go into one non-chain pharmacy, I see the sign that says something like, "Sorry, Plan B will be available tomorrow." When it's too late, I guess. :)

9:41 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

The makers of Plan B have applied to make it available over the counter. There is really no scientific reason why it should not be, but the Bush administration's dangerous politicization of science has intervened to prevent it. It is a scandal that all should scream about!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous onionsoupmix said...

my husband is a frum, politically conservative pharmacist and he is pleased to carry and dispense plan b because he sees it as part of his obligation to his clients not to force his religious perspectives on them. Also, charlie hall, independent pharmacies can make a ton of money even if they are closed on shabbos, especially if they have a certain field they specialize in - compounding, kosher products, vitamins, etc. Most of Brooklyn is filled with independent shops.

1:06 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Actually, I prefer Plan A.

4:15 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

my husband is a frum, politically conservative pharmacist and he is pleased to carry and dispense plan b because he sees it as part of his obligation to his clients not to force his religious perspectives on them.

I don't mean any disrespect for your husband, but can you please explain how NOT offering a product is "forcing" a religious perspective on someone?

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is really no scientific reason why it should not be"

There are many scientific reasons why it should not be.
Plan B is contraindicated in obese women, hypertensive women, women who smoke and others.
It also interacts with other drugs, and may not be effective if used with certain antibiotics.
The prescription system is designed to minimise such risks.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

717 anonymous: don't even get me started on arguing the clinical merits of Plan B vs. doing nothing at all and having an unwanted pregnancy. The vast majority of 'women' who contracept using Plan B are teenagers who currently bum one birthcontrol pill off of several friends and take them all at the same time, hoping for the same effect.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Timi said...

Just had to respond to a couple of these things (found your blog through stepima).

Re: Jak Black:

Not offering a product is making it not available, whether it's legal or not. By not offering the drug you are telling your customers that you do not approve of the drug, basically you're on your own (which in my opinion is not a pharmacist's job). Also, particularly with Plan B, it is a very time sensitive drug. If you have a perscription for Plan B, there is a reason why you have it and running around from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find one who sells it because they have a religious/moral viewpoint that jives with yours (or your right to the drug), is NOT what you want to be doing when you are in the situation. This is also another reason for posting it in their windows. Time sensitive.

And Re: "There is really no scientific reason why it should not be":

While in theory it would be a good idea for Plan B to be OTC (in terms of the time constraint). Plan B is not vitamins. It is effective but HARSH on your system. It makes you very very sick, anti-nausea medication is usually perscribed alongside it. Plus there is a recommended number of times you are not supposed to exceed taking it in a year (something like 3). While I'm a huge proponent of Plan B and it's availability, you really should have to talk to a doctor about taking it. It really is "Emergency" contraception, not regular everyday contracetption.

Ok, I'm done now. I hope I didn't hijack the comments.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

Not offering a product is making it not available, whether it's legal or not.

Well, hardly. At any rate, my question was not how you're contributing or not to its availability. I asked how you are forcing your point of view on another.

By not offering the drug you are telling your customers that you do not approve of the drug, basically you're on your own (which in my opinion is not a pharmacist's job).

This is preposterous. You're not telling the customer anything. Would you say that a Radio Shack is obligated to sell bolts? If you don't like their selection, head elsewhere.

It seems to me that you're trying to enforce your views on others - the pharmacists, some of whom may have LEGITIMATE moral reasons why they do not want to carry a certain product. Again, if you don't like it, head elsewhere. If his views are so unpopular, market forces will put him out of business.

Also, particularly with Plan B, it is a very time sensitive drug. If you have a perscription for Plan B, there is a reason why you have it and running around from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find one who sells it because they have a religious/moral viewpoint that jives with yours

This is all irrelevant. The pharmacist is not responsible for your personal actions which lead to the need for a certain drug, or any other action of another at all. He is responsible to keep the law, period.

It's hard to believe that a person could actually try to defend such a point of view. Take a hint from MO and Hall - neither of them tried to defend it.

8:23 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

This is all irrelevant. The pharmacist is not responsible for your personal actions which lead to the need for a certain drug, or any other action of another at all.
That sounds the teeny-tiniest bit judgemental, Jack. This isn't about the consequences of actions and whether a pharmacist is required to have a drug on hand to deal with those consequences. You wouldn't say that about heartburn medicine that a patient needs to to gross overeating, nor about chemotherapy to treat a lung cancer patient who smoked. There is a certain expectation that a pharmacist will carry most medically marketed drugs - or be able to order them within a short period of time - without any sort of judgement about what sort of behavior brought the patient to need the drug.

Now in this case, there is a religious objection by some to carry the drug - but again, this isn't about "facing the consequences of one's bad decisions", as you imply. I would have to hope that regardless of a pharmacist's religious or moral convictions, that sort of attitude wouldn't come into play from a provider of medicine.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

You wouldn't say that about heartburn medicine that a patient needs to to gross overeating, nor about chemotherapy to treat a lung cancer patient who smoked.

Oh yes I would. If a pharmacist feels so strongly about overeating that he refuses to carry drugs that treat such a condition, that's his right.

I'm not being judgemental at all. It is YOU that are judging a pharmacist that simply wants to live and act according to his own morals. Don't like 'em? SHOP ELSEWHERE!

A person does not have an obligation to sell anything. How can you possibly not see this?

8:51 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Oh yes I would. If a pharmacist feels so strongly about overeating that he refuses to carry drugs that treat such a condition, that's his right.


I suppose it is his right, but I truly hope that the day does not come when it becomes acceptable practice for a provider of medicines to preject their own opinions into their trade. What's next? A pharmacist that doesn't carry formula, because she doesn't approve of not breastfeeding?


I'm not being judgemental at all. It is YOU that are judging a pharmacist that simply wants to live and act according to his own morals.


But you absolutely are. You are saying that the pharmacist is choosing not to provide Plan B because of the actions an unwanted pregnancy is a result of. And I detest that implication. I would hope that the actions of a patient would not enter into the decisionmaking factors of whether a pharmacist decides to carry or not carry a drug. He may not choose to carry Plan B because the drug itself performs an action that he feels the action it induces is contrary to his moral or religious belief. That is a far cry from talking about the actions that brought the patient to be in his/her condition. And I'm sure any ethical pharmacist would agree. It's clear who is being judgemental here, and it ain't me. And I would hope it isn't the pharmacists who are choosing to follow their moral compass either, whether I agree or disagree with their final decision.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:09, apparently you do not like to be confused by facts.
You have listed very compelling cultural and social reasons why Plan B should be readily available, but have not added one iota to the medical arguments.
Any other medication with the same side effects, risks, contraindications, and interactions would be subject to the prescription process. The only reason to exempt Plan B is political.
Whilst I agree with much of what you say regarding the social need for readily available emergency contraception, it is false and irresponsible to make statements like "there are no scientific reasons why it should not be".
You know what's worse than a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy? A teenager with a stroke.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

But you absolutely are. You are saying that the pharmacist is choosing not to provide Plan B because of the actions an unwanted pregnancy is a result of.

You're not reading my words carefully. I said that I am not being judgemental, and that is true. My opinion stands, regardless of the reasons of the pharmacist. I don't care if he doesn't want to sell the drug because he despises the drug, hates blue pills, or think's he's from the moon. It's his right not to sell anything he pleases.

So yes, the pharmacist may be judgemental. But the opinion that allows him not to sell something he doesn't want to is certainly not.

Also regarding social norms, I think it's a big crying shame that more people don't live according to their moral views.

10:15 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I should point out that many, many poskin say that plan B is mutar. I might also say that a pharmacist who refuses to carry plan B is most certainly trying to impose his own beliefs on his customers. That's his right as JakBlack says, but it's bad business and bad manners. It's a lot like how the Italian owner of the black neighborhood's pizza shop in Do The Right Thing out photographs of famous Italians on the shop walls, and turned a deaf ear to his customer's complaints. He was eventually driven out.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

I might also say that a pharmacist who refuses to carry plan B is most certainly trying to impose his own beliefs on his customers.

Saying a thing does not make it so. All the more so for a ridiculous thing.

I asked before, and I'll ask again: How exactly is he IMPOSING his beliefs on others? Others have the right to shop elsewhere; they are certainly not obligated to enter his store for any reason.

Your proof from a movie aside, I'm not sure that it's bad business at all. It might be that others that share his views will patronize his store.

As for manners, I cannot see how it is bad manners to not sell something. Can you please explain that point?

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 717: at all ages a pregnancy taken to term has more morbidity and mortality than Plan B.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

Didn't think so.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work »

5:16 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

That was a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing! Articles like this keep my updated with the current situations in our society or different body of knowledge that a human must know especially about medicine specifically about vitamins. I admire you guys for sharing your post.


Kosher Vitamins

6:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home