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July 22, 2006

Score Another for our Negotiator-in-Chief

The Pharmacy Board appears to have come to their senses thanks in part to Governor Gregoire's behind the scenes negotiations with the Pharmacy Board and, in particular, Board Member Donna Dockter, who had pushed for a controversial clause giving pharmacists the choice to refuse to fill prescriptions.  Both the PI and the Times have the story but Josh Feit at the Stranger appears to have the story behind the story.

Indeed, Gregoire brought in Don Downing, a Clinical Associate Professor at the U.W. School of Pharmacy, to facilitate a solution. Downing was the perfect choice. Downing has a long history of working with women’s health advocacy groups to draft legislation and rules (and create programs) nationally and internationally, that ensure woman have access to things like emergency contraception. However, he was also “in synch” with Washington State Pharmacy Board member Donna Dockter, the pharmacist who drafted the June rule. Downing agrees with Dockter that there are situations when a pharmacist should be able to refuse to fill a prescription—that don’t have to do with religious objections, but rather, a host of other issues ranging from medical concerns to concerns about abuse and fraud. Dockter’s concerns are good ones, although, during the debate last Spring, she seemed incapable of recognizing that her proposal had a huge loophole in it which would have allowed self-righteous pharmacists to turn women away.

Downing worked with the pharmacy board and Dockter to amend the language—he says the controversial clause that gave pharmacists the open-ended power to simply turn down prescriptions is “gone.” He and Dockter met with the Governor this week to go through “paragraph by paragraph” the new language, and Downing reports that the Governor supports the new draft language.

Downing hinted that the new language will only allow a pharmacist to object for religious or moral reasons if the pharmacy has someone else on staff who will fill the prescription. He said: “We all agreed that the pharmacist has a responsibility to facilitate access and can’t send a patient on a wild goose chase.”

With win after win like this, no wonder the Governor's approval ratings are going up.  Survey USA has her at 52% approval, 45% disapproval, her highest yet.  It still doesn't do her justice but slowly the numbers are reflected the incredible job she is doing.

Hat tip to Carl for the pointer to the Stranger and to Goldy for the pointer to the SUSA numbers. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 22, 2006 at 09:35 AM in Policy | Permalink

Comments

The right to refuse based on moral or religious grounds is the same thing the Boy Scouts use to exclude homosexuals from the Boy Scouts. It comes down to discrimination, plain and simple.

Posted by: Evan | Jul 24, 2006 10:12:35 PM

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