A revised code of conduct issued by the new industry regulator, will effectively mean that Pharmacy staff will be able to choose which drugs they dispense and which they do not, in accordance with their own beliefs.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)is due to take over the regulation of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and the regulation of pharmacy premises from the Royal Pharmaceutical Council later this year.
They have confirmed that their members will be allowed to refuse to sell or prescribe products if they feel that doing so would contradict their beliefs.
Critics have been quick to point at reports published today, which suggest that one in five girls in the UK become pregnant by the age of 18. It has also been widely reported, that the UK has the highest incidents of teenage pregnancies in Europe.
Surely, they argue, if pharmacists are refusing to sell contraceptives or morning-after pills, then the situation is only going to get worse.
Prof. Hugh Jarse, from the GPhC conceded this point, but stated that the 'interests of his members was of paramount importance' and he was 'pleased that they would be able to continue to dispense in accordance with their beliefs.'
Pharmacist, Mike Hunt, a Christian Scientist from Milton Keynes expressed his relief at the new guidelines. 'I'm relieved', he said 'all Christian Scientists know that there is no such thing as disease. Therefore we don't need drugs and I'm thrilled that as a qualified pharmacist, I can now be paid not to dispense them. Instead I'll be handing out leaflets on the wonderful parallel system of treatments that can be obtained through Christian Science practitioners'.
On the strength of these guidelines, we can report that Muslim off-licence workers are now seeking legal advice to see whether they could similarly be paid, not to sell alcohol.