TN pharmacist unwilling to sell 'morning-after pill' sues Walgreens after firing


A Tennessee pharmacist is claiming Walgreens fired him for refusing to sell Plan B — also known as the “morning-after pill” — despite his religious objections.

Phillip Hall was fired in August by his store manager because he was unwilling to sell a drug he found “sinful and repugnant to his sincerely held religious beliefs,” according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville.

A Walgreen Co. spokesman declined to comment on pending litigation, but noted “company policy allows pharmacists and other employees to step away from completing a transaction to which they have a moral objection” and refer a customer to a colleague or manager.


Sorry, but anyone learning to be a pharmacist must realize they can’t decide what drugs to prescribe or sell. Time for a new career.


While I think Walgreens is perfectly within its rights to fire this pharmacist, I disagree with your above statement.

First, pharmacists do not “decide what drugs to prescribe” and the certainly do decide what to sell. Pharmacists fill prescriptions and sell them to the customer. As medical professionals, they have a duty and right to refuse to dispense prescriptions that, in their professional medical opinion, put the patient at risk. If a prescriptions is given for a drug that is contraindicated, the pharmacist has the right to refuse to dispense that prescription. And, depending upon the state, if a prescription is ordered for use other than its published use, has the right to refuse to fill the prescription.

I’ve posted on this numerous times. I have a college buddy who is a PharmD that owns his own pharmacy. He isn’t Catholic, so doesn’t share the same reservations about contraception, but he did absolutely refuse to dispense PlanB in his pharmacy, until the state supreme court decided that his sincerely held religious objection to abortion inducing drugs didn’t matter. And he always calls the doctor when getting orders for certain drugs that are known of off-label use, such as methotrexate and wellbutrin.

Pharmacists are more than just drug vending machines. They are medical professionals. We should treat them as such. As for Walgreens, they are free to make their own policies. If their policy is that contraception should be filled by whoever is on duty, then they should do so. Though I am surprised they don’t have a policy to allow those with religious exceptions to have someone else fill the prescription.




God bless him for standing up for his beliefs.


Wrong. I don’t dispense any of the stuff prohibited by the Church.:wink:


Would the same apply if in the future, drugs intended for suicide become prescribable?


Exactly. Reminds me of the “but I was just following orders” defense.


OH, but they are here in WA.

Note: At least the law–so far–allows medical folk to refuse to participate:



OT Your username rocks :smiley: /OT


Thanks. was a nick name my father (Luigi !)gave my son
Marcolino Panevino


Good man, your father. :smiley:


Actually that is by no means true in all nations. In the UK a pharmacist may refuse to sell you birth control pills or other similar items if it clashes with their religious beliefs although if they do they are required to give you the address of an alternative pharmacy. Nurses and other medical personnel may also refuse to assist in abortions or similar procedures which clash with their faith.


Agreed. :thumbsup:


What you say is true. If a pharmacist sees that a new Rx will adversely react with an existing prescription, his duty is to refuse to fill it until he receives confirmation from the physician that he is aware of the danger. Sometimes physicians get incensed about such refusal, only to concur with the pharmacist after listening, and then issue a different prescription. The pharmacist is not just an unthinking dispensary.

And no one, including a pharmacist, can check his conscience at the door when going in to work.


No pharmacy stocks ever drug available, so yes, they do decide which drugs to sell. They however do not prescribe drugs…that’s a doctor’s job.


We’re going to have to start making a list to keep track of jobs that Catholics can no longer hold because it’s apparently against the law to practice our religion outside of the parish walls. So far, the jobs to avoid so that we’re not faced with a choice between staying in line with Church teaching and violating someone’s civil right to impose their reality upon everyone else are:
*]Medical insurance
*]Human resources
*]Civil service
*]Justice of the Peace or similar
*]Medical doctor
*]Wedding planner
Anything I’ve missed?


Taxi driver. I seem to remember there was a case about a taxi driver in New York who was fired for refusing to drive a guest to a gay wedding.


“He doesn’t object to Walgreens selling Plan B,” said Jocelyn Floyd, a lawyer at the Thomas More Society, a Christian legal group representing Hall. “He’s just asking that they accommodate his religious beliefs.”

Jim Graham, a spokesman for Walgreens, would not comment on the specifics of Hall’s suit. He did say in an email that the company respects the religious beliefs of employees.

“While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we can tell you that Walgreens company policy allows pharmacists and other employees to step away from completing a transaction to which they have a moral objection,” he said in an email.

“Our policy also requires the employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty who will complete the customer’s request.”

I am not sure if Philip Green had a problem with reffering the transaction, but it it may be that Walgreens went against their own company policy in letting go of Philip Green because he didn’t want to sell Plan B.

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