An Arizona woman has criticized Walgreens on social media, saying a pharmacist at the chain refused to fill her prescription for a medicine prescribed to induce miscarriage after she was told her 9-week-old fetus had stopped developing.
When she went to a Walgreens in the city of Peoria to get her prescription, she says a pharmacist refused to serve her on moral grounds - a stance which is within the company's rules. She says the pharmacist had "ultimately had it transferred to another location that had it in stock after I had left upset". She said her doctor told her that the pregnancy would end in a miscarriage and gave her two options: have a surgical procedure or take the medication misoprostol, which helps bring on a miscarriage more quickly. In a later update, she shares that she later received an email notification that her prescription was "ready at location across town".
Walgreens said in a tweet that its policy "allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection. We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients" needs are handled properly'.
Under Arizona law, the pharmacist does not have refer the customer to another pharmacy, Klieman said, but Walgreens required it as part of the company policy.
Arteaga said the he did not explain any further. One person left the Peoria store a one-star review on Yelp, writing that "the fact that Walgreens would employ someone like this that can not put their beliefs aside for the HEALTHCARE of another human being is deplorable".
Arteaga explained that there were other pharmacists at the Walgreens when the man denied filling her prescription, yet he did not refer her medical needs to another employee. "I applaud this pharmacist and am glad Walgreens protects his conscience rights and wish more pharmacists would have the courage to stand for their convictions, especially if a life is at risk".
"[The pharmacist] has no idea what its (sic) like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so".
It is not only very bad that the Walgreens policy allows the humiliation of women like Arteaga, but the pharmacist's position is extremely troubling to me-as a professional, shouldn't his concern have been with her wellbeing?
"We're literally endangering people by stepping in in these ways and that definitely is a huge concern", she said. Eight states - California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Washington and Wisconsin - have laws requiring pharmacists to provide medication to patients.
Arteaga told the BBC that did not happen when she visited the store, as the pharmacist "could have just passed me on to the lady that was standing next to him" - which she says did not happen.
Arizona is one of six U.S. states where it's legal for pharmacies or pharmacists to refuse to a fill a prescription for religious or moral reasons, according to the National Women's Law Center. Her account of the episode on Facebook prompted calls to boycott the company.
Arteaga first shared her frustrations online Thursday night by writing a review for the Walgreens pharmacy on Yelp.
But the accidental posting brought messages of support and tales of similar experiences from multiple friends.
She claims Walgreens did not reach out to her but instead she was the one who reached out to them.
She said the reactions validated her beliefs that she had been wronged.