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Posts published in “Day: June 2, 2006”

Choice and responsibility

Two issues are prompted by the
Thursday proposal
by the Washington Board of Pharmacy which would allow local pharmacists to decide not to fill birth control or some other prescriptions.

One is this: What sort of business is a pharmacy: A retail store-type business, or a public service-type business?

The new rule proposal suggests the retail store analogy.

Consider a supermarket. Such a store carries thousands of items, a wide range of foods and other goods, but all of that is only a fraction of what it could in theory stock. It could, possibly, stock hundreds of additional foods, thousands of additional brands and companies. The choices are endless. But the store makes them, based largely, presumably, on what people want to buy, but maybe too on profit margins or bulk deals, or maybe in some cases even the biases of the owner or manager. It's up to the store. We can impact their choices as customers, but that's about it. You can extend the analogy to many other businesses, even to the newspaper which runs some stories and leaves others out.

That's one model for the pharmacy: A store in which the owner can decide what to stock and what not.

That seems to be the framework contemplated by the proposal offered by the board - but seems is as much as we can say, since the language in the actual proposed rule is so vague. The major and key section of the planned change reads this way: (more…)