Thursday, June 23, 2005

More news from Bradyville

Here’s the story of a lovely catholic pharmacist who believes that sex should occur purely as god designed it, in marriage solely for the procreation of children. He runs a pharmacy in a small NSW town and by his own decree he will not sell contraceptives. No condoms, diaphragms or morning after pills for sale because of his, Mark Smith’s, “ethical personal reasons.” Did I mention he runs the only pharmacy in this town? Just where are his sexually active customers meant to go?

Merriwa, the Hunter Valley town in question, has a teen pregnancy rate 4 x higher than Sydney. The disparity is blamed on just one man, Mr Smith. I have not been able to find any stats on sexual infection rates, but I am sure his ‘just say no’ policy will have a similar effect on the spread of Chlamydia, HIV and a whole host of other infections given time.

And just when I thought this old news story (it initially broke in March) was an isolated incident, I heard on Radio National today of another NSW pharmacist who was walking a similar ethical line. Simon Horsfall, the owner of the Thurgoona Pharmacy near Albury, also used his Catholicism as an excuse to ban the sale of contraceptives. Regarding 'the pill' he said "I put notes into the packets of the contraceptive pill just asking people… letting them know that, well, I'm happy to supply it if they're using it for medical reasons like skin problems or painful periods or migraines and things like that, but that if they prefer it for lifestyle reasons, which is contraception, that next time they get it I prefer they get it from somewhere else."

While these are so far isolated incidents in Australia it is heading in the same direction as the bible belt in the USA, which is rife with riotous pharmacists. Nationally even Walmart refuses to stock certain contraceptives in its pharmacies because they believe it would be “bad for business”. Which is strange because in the commercial world I though sex always sells. However the cigarettes and firearms the company sell doesn’t offer them the same dilemma. Perhaps Messers Smith and Horsfall should follow suit and diversify into lines that don’t provide them with such ethical challenges.


Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

i heard about this on the radio last week too under the heading of "ethical dilemma for the day" on 774 victoria. seems like these pharmacists are in fact imposing their own morals on others which is not part of their job decription in terms of function or professionalism. it's a tough one though.

10:20 pm  

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