Saturday, December 14, 2019

Suit Filed Against Pharmacies That Refused To Fill Emergency Contraceptive Prescription

A suit was filed earlier this week in a Minnesota state trial court against two pharmacies and an individual pharmacist by a woman who was turned down at both pharmacies when she attempted to full a prescription  for ella-- a morning-after emergency contraceptive. The suit contends that defendants discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of sex, in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The Act defines "sex" as including pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. The complaint (full text) in Anderson v. Grand St. Paul CVS, LLC,(MN Dist. Ct., filed 12/9/2019) sets out the facts of plaintiff's discrimination claim:
[Anderson] had her doctor send [her prescription] to the McGregor Thrifty White pharmacy. She acted quickly because any delay in obtaining emergency contraception increases the risk of pregnancy. The pharmacist on duty told her that he would be unable to fill her prescription because of his “beliefs.” He also warned her against trying Shopko, another pharmacy in the surrounding area. The pharmacist did not provide Anderson with any information about how she could get her prescription filled.
Anderson next tried a CVS pharmacy in Aitkin, Minnesota, a town roughly 20 miles away. The CVS pharmacist also indicated that she could not fill the prescription. The pharmacist then claimed that she called a pharmacist at the Walgreens in Brainerd Minnesota, who told her that they could not fill the prescription either. Anderson later confirmed with that Walgreens pharmacist that they did speak with a pharmacist from CVS, but that they had told the CVS pharmacist that Walgreens could fill the prescription.
Though Anderson finally found a pharmacy that was willing to fill her prescription, it was over fifty miles from her home. Meanwhile, a massive snowstorm was headed to central Minnesota.  Given the increased risk of pregnancy from any delay in taking emergency contraception, Anderson drove over 100 miles round trip in the snowstorm in order to fill her prescription....
 NBC News reports on the lawsuit. [Thanks to Tom Rutledge for the lead.]