Pharmacist Betrayed Trust, Abdicated Scientific Role By Refusing Prescription, says CFI


For Immediate Release: June 7, 2017
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

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An Albuquerque Walgreens pharmacist abdicated his responsibility as someone entrusted with scientific authority when he refused to fill a legal prescription because of his religious beliefs, said the Center for Inquiry. The discrimination suffered by this mother and young daughter with a valid prescription was worsened when Walgreens supplied no other employee to provide them with service, sending them instead to another store, the organization said.

“A pharmacist’s job is to protect a patient’s health, not to concern themselves with a patient’s soul,” said Nicholas Little, Legal Director for the Center for Inquiry (CFI). “A community places its trust in the scientific integrity of a pharmacist’s counsel, but this pharmacist chose to reject their vital medical role and arrogantly assume the authority of clergy.”

Unlike some other states, New Mexico does not have legislation excusing pharmacists from filling valid prescriptions based on their personal religious preferences.

“We should reject the pernicious idea that one person’s religion gives them the authority to violate anyone else’s rights,” said Little. “Religiously motivated discrimination is especially dangerous when practiced by those who should be protecting our health.”

“We urge Walgreens and all other pharmacies to take all necessary steps to ensure that no one is discriminated against in this manner again,” he said.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.