It is a realty of pharmacy practice that some orders for medication in the institutional setting, as well as some prescriptions for medication in community practice, cannot be honored, or should not be honored by the pharmacy to which they have been transmitted or submitted.  As the “safety net” who is responsible for patient welfare, pharmacists play a significant role in the identification of prescriptions that must be intercepted before they are processed and released for use in patient care.

On the other hand, pharmacists have a responsibility to provide medications for patients who need them, without stepping in the way of patient care and inappropriately refusing a prescription that should be made available for treatment of a patient’s medical condition.

This program will discuss how pharmacists can recognize a prescription that must not be honored, and how a pharmacist can respectfully decline these prescriptions.  Through the analysis of basic legal and ethical principles, within the context of actual legal cases, this program will consider prescription refusals by pharmacies based on therapeutic inappropriateness, legal defects, and conscientious objection.