In response to several public complaints reported over pharmacists' and pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions for the controversial birth control pill, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy has set out new rules.
The new ruling ensures that all pharmacies and pharmacists are bound to fill the required forms unless there is concern that the medication might be harmful to the patient.
The board was also quoted: "The rules assure that patients will be treated in a dignified, respectful manner even if the pharmacy is unable to fill the prescription."
The Food and Drug Administration permitted the non-prescription sales of the "morning after" pill for all women above the age of 18 beginning last August. Yet, girls below the age of 18 still require a lawful prescription to buy the drug, also called Plan B pills. This was after more than a heady share of political debates on the matter.
While supporters of the drug hail the ruling as beneficial for women and young girls who become victims of situation, critics list it as equivalent to abortion, arguing that easier access to Plan B could increase teen sex.
Plan B is said to contain high doses of the hormone progestin, which interferes with ovulation or prevents fertilization of an egg if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. The pills do not take effect if a woman is already pregnant.
"Pharmacies will be responsible for ensuring that patients get their prescriptions. If an individual pharmacist will not fill a prescription, the pharmacy owner must make sure another pharmacist is available to do so", the board now directs.