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Kroger pharmacist refused 'morning after' pill

/ Source: The Associated Press

Kroger Co. said Friday it was reiterating its drug policies to all of its pharmacists after a Georgia woman claimed she was denied the so-called “morning after” pill at one of the company’s stores.

The Cincinnati-based grocery chain said if its pharmacists object to fulfilling a request, the store must “make accommodations to have that prescription filled for our customer.”

“We believe that medication is a private patient matter,” said Meghan Glynn, a Kroger spokeswoman. “Our role as a pharmacy operator is to furnish medication in accordance with the doctor’s prescription or as requested by a patient.”

Abortion rights activists in Georgia planned to announce a statewide campaign Friday to raise awareness about the contraceptive. It planned to focus on the story of Carrie Baker, who said a Kroger pharmacist in her hometown of Rome, Ga., would not give her the contraceptive.

Sold as Plan B, emergency contraception is a high dose of the drug found in many regular birth-control pills. It can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

Girls 17 and younger still need a prescription to buy the drug, which the FDA made available over-the-counter to adults in August.

Supporters of the drug say widespread availability will cut down on unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Critics argue it encourages promiscuity and unprotected sex and some consider it related to abortion, although it is different from the abortion pill RU-486.

Major pharmacy chains such as CVS Corp., Rite-Aid Corp. and Walgreen Co. also have pledge to ensure that customers can buy Plan B, even if one employee declines to provide service for reasons of conscience.