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Friday, October 20, 2006

Rite Aid: No friend of women

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 3:01 PM

In August, the FDA finally approved over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception pills for women 18 and over. The pills will become available over the counter on November 1. But, for those unlucky enough to need it now, they might have more luck getting it in Canada. Last week, a patient of Dr. Patricia Kellner received a prescription for the pill. The woman went to the Rite Aid at Warrensville and Harvard, only to be told they didn't "carry it." Neither did the Rite Aids at 116th and Kisman, 147th and Harvard, Southgate, and Woodmere. So the patient called her doctor. Why, if emergency contraception is legal, can't she get her prescription anywhere? According to Mike Podgurski, director of pharmacy operations for Rite Aid, stores are stocked only with the medications that are dispensed the most. Apparently, emergency contraception isn't asked for on a weekly basis. Note to Podgurski: That's why it's called "emergency" contraception. The answer wasn't sufficient for Dr. Kellner. "I told him we definitely live in an area where there is demand for Plan B, and that six stores having no Plan B was a problem," she says. The lack of response leaves women's rights groups peeved, as well. "As a pharmacy, you have an obligation to your patients to get them the health care they need," says Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Ohio. "If your going to be a pharmacy, you need to fill prescriptions — that's your job." -- Rebecca Meiser

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