What is reasonable

Darrel Ray wrote to Walgreens to ask them about their policy on refusing to fill prescriptions because Jesus. He told commenters to feel free to use his letter as a template.

To whom it may concern. I read today that your company allows pharmacists to deny prescriptions based on their religious beliefs – specifically a pharmacist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I would like to know if this is a mistake and what the corporation is doing to correct this. Pharmacists did not train as theologians or religious police. What men and women do with their bodies and prescriptions, legally written by a physician, are none of any pharmacist’s business. I have a Walgreens account under the name [your name here] in [your location here]. I will not be using it until I get clarification that your corporation does not allow pharmacists to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. I would appreciate a reply. There is no reason a customer should be forced to go to another of your stores because one of your employees refuses to do their job. Would one of your pharmacy techs be allowed to refuse service in the same way? What are the limits of this pharmacist’s powers to refuse. Could he refuse service to a gay or a transexual person? Could he refuse to sell viagra to a man? Could he refuse to serve a Muslim woman in a hijab? His religious beliefs should not trump a woman or man’s right to health care. I look forward to your response.

He got a reply.

Here is Walgreen’s response to my letter. They believe it is reasonable to force a customer to go to a different store, when the pharmacist right in front of your refuses to do their job. Very interesting business model. I guess I will not be using Walgreens any longer. Wouldn’t want to offend their religious sensibilities.

Dear Darrel Ray,

Thank you for taking your time to contact our Corporate Offices. We appreciate hearing from our customers and value all comments received.

We believe it’s reasonable to respect the individual pharmacist’s beliefs by not requiring them to fill a prescription they object to on moral or religious grounds. We also believe it’s reasonable to meet our obligation to the patient by having another pharmacist at the store fill the prescription. If another pharmacist is not on duty, we will arrange to have the prescription filled at a nearby pharmacy.

Again, thank you for contacting our corporate office. We truly appreciate you taking the time to share your comments.


Nicholas C.
Consumer Relations Representative

Oh sure, it’s totally “reasonable” to set up as a pharmacy and then selectively refuse to fill prescriptions because of your or your employee’s personal opinions about particular prescriptions. It’s totally reasonable to put people to major inconvenience, often amounting to impossibility (no other pharmacy nearby, patient reliant on public transportation but with small children or an ill relative to take care of, etc), because someone in the nearest pharmacy has Scruples about someone else’s prescription. By which I mean it’s not reasonable at all, it’s outrageous.

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