Recently, an Arizona pharmacist refused to fill a woman's miscarriage prescription because of moral objections.

A story about a woman who dealt with a pharmacist that refused to fill her prescription went viral. According to CNN, the woman's 9-week-old fetus had stopped developing and her doctor prescribed her medication to induce a miscarriage. A Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill the prescription due to a moral objection.

Walgreens responded to social media outcry saying that their pharmacists are allowed to not fill a prescription based on personal beliefs, but they must get another pharmacist to fill the prescription.

The question now is: could this happen in New York? Whether it is a reproductive medication or pain medication, can pharmacists refuse to fill it if a doctor prescribed it? After looking at the New York State Pharmacy Laws, Rules, and Regulations, it does not appear that New York has an explicit law on the refusal of filling prescriptions. However, the National Women's Law Center reports that there have been reported cases of New York pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions. The National Women's Law Center also reports that New York has a law allows refusals but prohibits access to the medication. So basically, the New York law sounds a lot like the Walgreens policy: someone can refuse to fill it but it must be filled.


Rite Aid did not have their policy listed on their website, and after calling their national number I was re-routed numerous times and was told by their legal department that they do not provide that information over the phone and that I must write in the get an answer. I submitted an email through their contact page and will update this article when an answer is received.

CVS was much easier to get an answer from. I called their national customer service number listed on their contact page and was told that if a prescription is being refused to be filled, the medication would be documented and then a corporate pharmacist would speak with the patient. For a non-controlled substance, if it was refused the district pharmacist leader would follow up after refusal. So basically, the prescription can be refused, but a higher level pharmacist would handle the situation after refusal. Planned Parenthood reports that CVS has a policy that accommodates patients and employees, so it is likely that if your prescription is refused to be filled it will be eventually be filled (again, this is my assumption, not confirmed).

Glamour magazine attempted to reach both CVS and Rite Aid and did not receive comment from either.