The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday in Las Vegas debated a proposal that would allow pharmacists in the state to refuse to fill a prescription because it violates a "genuine principle or tenet of conscience," which some advocates say could limit access to birth control and HIV/AIDS-related medications, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. Nevada law and pharmacy board regulations are "silent" on a so-called "conscience clause" regulations for pharmacists, according to the AP/Sun. Under the proposal, pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions would be required to arrange to have them filled by another pharmacist "without delay" and would not be allowed to discuss their objections with patients. In addition, a pharmacy could not discipline pharmacists for refusing to fill a prescription as long as they reported their objections to their employers in advance. State pharmacy board Executive Director Larry Pinson said the board has not received any complaints about patients being denied prescriptions but added that he wanted to be "proactive" in drafting a rule on the issue. Larry Matheis, executive director of the Nevada State Medical Association, said the proposal would allow pharmacists to alter a health care program designed by doctors and patients, adding, "The pharmacist may or may not know ... why the prescription has been written. But that is a clinical judgment that if it's going to be questioned, it can only be questioned, really, by another physician." The board voted to extend debate on the proposal to its Dec. 8 meeting in Reno (Hennessey, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 10/27).
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