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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Supreme Court denies review of Washington state case challenging pharmacy rules

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 30, 2016

SEATTLE, Wash. (Legal Newsline) — Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a case challenging state rules adopted to ensure patients receive timely access to medication such as emergency contraceptives. Ferguson had filed a brief with the high court urging the Supreme Court to deny the review.

“Patients should know that when they need medication, they won’t be refused based on the personal views of a particular pharmacy owner,” Ferguson said. “The appeals court ruling upheld today protects that principle.”

The original case began when the plaintiffs refused to fill valid prescriptions for emergency contraceptives based on religious beliefs – an act that led to many patients missing out on emergency contraceptives and other time-sensitive medications. The plaintiffs challenged Washington Board of Pharmacy rules that mandate pharmacies ensure patients have timely access to medication while preserving the right of conscience of individual pharmacists.

The United States Court of Appeals ruled in the state’s favor in July 2015 and the plaintiffs responded by filing a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision to refuse the appeal means that the case will come to an end.

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