Because I could not stop for death....

I got knocked up instead...

Friday, December 02, 2005

If they only had a brain

We need to get a little activated about this. This is CRAP.

Canadian pharmacists are being advised to collect a woman's name, address, phone number and sensitive details about her sexual activity before dispensing the so-called morning-after pill.
The guidelines, put out by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, have drawn concern from women's health groups, which say the rules are discriminatory and raise privacy issues.
Anne Rochon Ford, co-ordinator of Women and Health Protection, a coalition of groups concerned about drug safety and funded by Health Canada, said she's not aware of any other behind-the-counter drug where pharmacists are asked to gather data before dispensing it, which "makes (the drug) look suspect and very loaded."
But Janet Cooper, senior director of professional affairs for the pharmacists' association, said the information is necessary to determine whether the pill will be used appropriately and effectively, since it doesn't work if taken more than three days after intercourse.
She said the information is to be kept in the pharmacy's computer "so that if she came in a month later for another one, that would mean she probably needs to be advised to get better contraception."
"We've been concerned about this since day one," said Abby Lippman, chair of the Canadian Women's Health Council and an epidemiologist at McGill University. "I think it's an invasion of privacy — why should women have to go through this?"
Pharmacists are also charging a "counselling fee" of about $20 on top of $20 for the pill, putting it out of reach for many women, she said. The fee is government-paid only in Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Health Canada moved the emergency contraceptive levonorgestrel, or Plan B, from being a prescription to a behind-the-counter drug in April, making it available to women of any age. A woman is required to ask the pharmacist for it so she can be counselled about its use.
The pharmacists' association immediately posted guidelines on its website. They include giving women a screening form to fill out that asks for personal identification, the time when they last had unprotected sex, the number of times they have had unprotected sex since their last menstrual period, and what form of birth control they use. The information should be stored in the pharmacy's computer, the guidelines state.
"These are highly personal, interrogative questions, and it's disturbing," Ford said. Women taking this pill are already under stress, and "the last thing they need is this kind of interrogation," she said.
"We are a bit stumped why they have gone to this degree," she said. "This is just so over the top, unnecessary and unproductive."
Most pharmacies don't have a private place to counsel women, so it must be done in public.
It should be up to the woman to ask for advice about taking it, Ford said.
The working group and the Canadian Women's Health Network are advocating that the drug be taken off the drug schedule completely so it could be made available at grocery and variety stores. That has the support of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups, Ford said.
Cooper said the guidelines aren't mandatory but "this is considered best practice. As an association, we can give guidelines but we can't dictate. If a woman actually did not want to provide this information, a lot of pharmacists are going to use their best judgment.
"If a woman was really uncomfortable, the first thing I would do was tell her that there is a code of privacy and the pharmacist has to keep it absolutely private," Cooper said, adding the goal is to make the drug available without a prescription but at the same time allow women to get advice from pharmacists.
While pharmacists have a privacy code, "nothing is private anymore" when information goes into a computer, said the health council's Lippman. "It's not a drug people are going to be abusing; it's not regularly used and it's not harmful if it's taken too late and she's already pregnant. The side effects are nausea and vomiting — nobody would want to take it regularly. There's just no reason for this."


At 1:41 AM, Anonymous CJ said...

I volunteer for sexual assault services, and I was AMAZED to see how many doctors won't give this drug out to rape victims in the ER. Its very angering. Here in the US there fighting about it too. They fear that kids are going to buy it. Granted I wouldn't want my 14 year old stepdaughter buying it - but I wouldn't want to raise her baby EVEN MORE. I believe that its a reproductive RIGHT that all women have. (EVEN kids)

At 11:07 AM, Blogger prying1 said...

I have to wonder about the contraindications and adverse reactions with other drugs and medicines. There is no track record with this pill. How long before we hear of it harming vital organs? 10 20 years?

That being said, the info that the Canadian Pharmacists Association wants to collect is way too personal. I think that most women would be embarrased tell their priest in confession, doctor, lawyer or psychologist or therapist this info. Much less some pill pusher behind a retail counter.


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