09 February 2006

Wal-Mart sued for not stocking emergency contraceptives

Just in case you didn't already have enough reasons to hate Wal-Mart, here is another: Wal-Mart pharmacies are refusing to stock the "morning after pill".

I'll bet they stock Viagra, though.

From CNN:
Three Massachusetts women backed by pro-abortion rights groups sued Wal-Mart on Wednesday, saying the retail giant violated state law by failing to stock emergency contraception pills in its pharmacies.

The suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court seeks a court order compelling the company to stock the so-called "morning after pill," in its 48 Massachusetts pharmacies.

"Wal-Mart apparently thinks it is above the law," said Sam Perkins, a lawyer for the three plaintiffs.

A new state law that took effect late last year following heated debate among lawmakers requires all hospitals to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims. It also allows pharmacists to dispense the pill without a prescription, but does not require it.

The lawsuit, backed by abortion rights groups Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Jane Doe Inc., argues Wal-Mart is violating a state policy that requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines." They are suing to force compliance with the regulation through the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.

"Massachusetts pharmacies are required to stock all medications that are commonly prescribed to meet the usual needs of the community," Perkins said.

Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, said the company "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons," but he declined to elaborate.

However, in a letter to Perkins regarding the lawsuit, Wal-Mart attorney John W. Delaney wrote that Wal-Mart has "long had the corporate policy of declining to make available EC (emergency contraception) medication, based on, among other things, a view that EC medication is not 'commonly prescribed' and within the 'usual needs of the community."'
[Read more.]

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