New Bill Could Fine Pharmacies for Not Filling Prescriptions

Dix Hills, N.Y., Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney, both New York Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, proposed a federal bill today in front of a Dix Hills, N.Y., Pathmark. It would require pharmacies to fill prescriptions regardless of pharmacists’ personal beliefs. The legislation would require a pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription for personal reasons to refer a patient to a colleague in the same store.

The legislation is known as the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act and is sponsored in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey. Under the act, a pharmacy can be fined $5,000 per violation per day up to $500,000 and a customer can sue within five years of the incident.

The catalyst for the legislation was an incident in March when a customer was allegedly refused a prescription for emergency contraceptive pills twice at the Dix Hills, N.Y., Pathmark. Pathmark spokesman Richard Savner said, “Our policy requires that under such circumstances the prescription be referred to another pharmacist or pharmacy. In this instance, we have no evidence or reason to believe our policy was not followed. I am unaware of Pathmark ever being contacted about this alleged issue from March.”