ICHP Position Statement - Conscientious Objection to Dispensing Medications

The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP) recognizes the rights of pharmacy employees, including an individual pharmacist’s right as a health care provider to conscientiously object to dispensing and managing medications they consider morally, religiously or ethically troubling.  ICHP also recognizes that pharmacists and their employers must protect the patient’s right to obtain legally prescribed and medically indicated treatments in a timely manner.

ICHP supports systems that allow pharmacists and other pharmacy employees to exercise their right of conscience without punitive repercussions.  These systems must respect and serve the legitimate health care needs and desires of the patient and shall provide a timely referral without any actions to persuade, coerce, or otherwise impose the pharmacist’s moral values, religious beliefs or other ethical objections.

ICHP encourages pharmacists to proactively inform their employer of known situations that will cause them to exercise their right of conscience so that alternative plans may be established.

Examples where pharmacists may be challenged by their conscience include medications for assisted suicide, abortion, emergency contraception or capital punishment.

Revised 6/2019