(July 25, 2022) WASHINGTON, DC— For the past month, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has been advocating for patients and pharmacists regarding the Dobbs v Jackson Supreme Court decision. This work has included engaging with members, issuing a press release calling for more clarity for pharmacists and other health care professionals, meeting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to its new guidance, and working with patients, state pharmacy groups, and policymakers to navigate the complicated legal landscape. Today, as part of its ongoing activity on these issues, APhA has released a formal statement for its members in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
APhA recognizes the incredibly impactful and far-reaching consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson, which overturned Roe v Wade. This decision has implications on the complete span of reproductive health services and will likely impact millions of patients—especially those in marginalized groups, furthering existing health inequities. APhA is concerned about the consequences of this decision on patients, communities, pharmacists, and all other health care professionals involved in caring for patients.
APhA stands behind a pharmacist’s professional and ethical obligation to their patients to assure optimal health outcomes. APhA policy recognizes a pharmacist’s responsibility to exercise professional judgment and conscience in the best interest of patients, and APhA policy opposes state and federal laws that limit the ability of a pharmacist to use their professional judgment.
As the landscape across the country is changing regarding the provision of reproductive health care and abortion, this should not stand in the way of a pharmacist providing FDA-regulated medications and evidence-based patient care services while carrying out their obligation to their patient. Patients’ access to certain medications is challenged in parts of the country where state laws prohibit the use of medications that have reproductive health uses but are also FDA-approved for treatment of chronic diseases; for example, methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis or misoprostol for ulcer prevention. The current lack of clarity between conflicting laws and regulations creates confusion, and it is compromising patient care.
Existing APhA policy—which calls for patients’ access to pharmacists’ services, protection of patients’ choice of provider for health care services, and equitable delivery of health care services to all patients—does not contemplate the specific complexities and sensitivities that the Dobbs decision brings to light. To address this gap in our existing policy, APhA will gather member feedback via listening sessions in order to provide an opportunity for discussion on how this momentous ruling (and future rulings) may impact patient care. Feedback received during these sessions will provide critical background information for deliberation on these issues at the next seating of the APhA House of Delegates.
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