Perhaps you remember this story when it was widely reported in January. As the Columbus Dispatch covered it then:
Plan B is two hormone pills (essentially high-test birth-control pills) that prevent pregnancy and are considered most effective when taken soon after unprotected sex — ideally, within 72 hours. Plan B is not the abortion pill, RU-486.
Tashina Byrd, her boyfriend and her 4-year-old son headed to a Springfield Wal-Mart to pick up some things, including Plan B. Byrd, 23, of Springfield, and her boyfriend, Brian O’Neill, 37, of Columbus, said a condom broke.
When the pharmacy attendant asked pharmacist Brent Beams about it, “He shook his head and laughed,” Byrd said. The attendant told them the store had Plan B but that nobody would give it to them, the couple said.
They asked for a store manager, who came over and said, The pharmacist has the law on his side, Neill said.
According to The Writing on the Wall Blog:
Byrd is now a rallying point for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and the focus of a letter writing campaign targeted at Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott. In an email solicitation Byrd writes:
You won’t believe what happened to me when I went with my boyfriend to Wal-Mart to buy Plan B the morning-after after our condom broke.
The pharmacist laughed in our faces and told us, “We have it on hand, but there’s no one here who can dispense it.
My name is Tashina Byrd, and this happened to me at my local Wal-Mart in Springfield, Ohio.
It can be embarrassing to share a private, personal experience like this, but I don’t want other women to be subjected to the humiliation and anger I felt when the pharmacist laughed at me.
That’s why I’m asking for your help today. I recently sent a letter to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., urging him to change company policy to guarantee that pharmacies fill requests for Plan B without delay, just like they do for any other over-the-counter medicine. Click here to send your letter to Wal-Mart today.
You’ve already proven that together we can make Wal-Mart do what’s right for women. Last year, because of pressure from pro-choice activists like you, Wal-Mart reversed its discriminatory policy against stocking Plan B. Now, it’s time to ensure that they not only stock it but also sell it without delay or inconvenience.
In the end, I was lucky. I found another pharmacy that stocked Plan B and was willing to sell it to me. But what would happen to a woman who lives in a rural area — where Wal-Mart is often the only pharmacy — where the nearest drugstore could be 60 miles away or more? What if the second pharmacy refused, too?
Tashina’s experience points to one of the key reasons — besides lower costs — that more Americans are choosing to purchase prescription drugs online. Ordering medications over the Web is private and free from the unprofessional behavior of pharmacists like the one Tashina encountered.