Sunday, April 17, 2005

Pharmacists and conscience clauses: a Canadian perspective.

A colleague just brought to my attention Bill C-307:

An Act to amend the Criminal Code to prevent health care practitioners from being coerced into taking part in medical procedures that offend the practitioner’s religion or belief that human life is inviolable

I guess it really is true that every asinine, boneheaded thing south of the border eventually percolates its way up here.

I'll be posting more on this shortly but, as a quick intro, I poked around and found the pharmacists' oaths for a couple Canadian provinces so you can see how they relate to this completely odious, ignorant piece of legislation.

First, we have Ontario's pharmacy Code of Ethics, with the following relevant excerpt:

Principle Four

The pharmacist respects the autonomy, individuality and dignity of each patient. Pharmacists acknowledge the right to self-determination and recognize individual self-worth by encouraging patients to participate in decisions about their health. Pharmacists respect personal and cultural differences, and do not discriminate against any patient for reasons of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.

Well, that certainly seems clear enough. And if you're in BC, here's your ethics page, with the salient excerpt:

A pharmacist supports the right of the patient to make personal choices about pharmacy care.

Oh, yes, I can see some serious inconsistencies here. This is, without doubt, going to get ugly.

UPDATE: Justin over at Flash Point Canada has a piece on this as well, and it may be that he was the one who made the original catch on this. So credit where credit is due.

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