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Walgreens to update pharmacist training after Arizona complaint

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Drugstore chain Walgreens said it will begin extra staff training after a Phoenix-area pharmacist refused to fill a prescription based on religious reasons and the customer filed a complaint.

“We will provide additional training to all of our pharmacists on appropriately handling these situations in accordance with our policy,” the company said in a statement this week.

The incident drew national attention.

Nicole Mone Arteaga of Peoria posted on Facebook last Friday that she had been denied miscarriage medication at the Walgreens near Peoria and 94th avenues.

Arteaga wrote a doctor had told her the baby had stopped developing and the options were surgery or medication to induce miscarriage.

A pharmacist wouldn’t fill the order, she said, although he sent the prescription to be filled at another Walgreens.

Arteaga filed a complaint with the Arizona State Pharmacy Board, which said it would investigate the complaint at a meeting in August.

Arizona and five other states allow pharmacists to refuse prescriptions related to medical abortion and contraception because of religious or moral beliefs.

The Peoria pharmacist told Arteaga filling the order conflicted with his “ethical beliefs.”

Arizona state Sen. John Kavanagh told the Chicago Tribune, “What’s the problem? (Arteaga) got what she wanted. The pharmacist complied with the law. I don’t see why she doesn’t respect the pharmacist’s right to not do this,” he said.

Details of the training were still being developed.

“We want the process to be as seamless as possible for the patient,” spokesman Michael Polzin told the newspaper.

The company apologized to Arteaga.

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