Pharmacist refused to issue pill on religious grounds

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The Independent Online

A pharmaceuticals company launched an investigation today after a woman was refused the contraceptive pill because it was against the pharmacist's religion to give it to her.

Janine Deeley was turned away by the female chemist at Lloyds pharmacy in Duke Street, Sheffield, when she went to pick up her routine prescription of the medication.

The mother-of-two was taken into a private room by the employee and told she would not be given the tablets on religious grounds but she could come back the next day when a different pharmacist was working and pick them up.

Ms Deeley, 38, of Wybourn, said she was furious she was not allowed her prescription, especially because she used it to treat endometriosis and not as a method of birth control.

She told the Sheffield Star: "I shouldn't have to explain myself to her.

"I was so angry I didn't really know what to do."

Ms Deeley also said she was worried teenagers like her two daughters, Carlie, 18, and 14-year-old Lauren, might not be able to protect against pregnancy if faced with such issues.

She added: "There's a lot of things in society you might not like or agree with, but you can't do anything about them."

A spokeswoman for Lloyds pharmacy said she was not aware which religion the pharmacist belonged to and an investigation into Ms Deeley's complaint had been launched.

She said: "Lloyds pharmacy is very sorry that Ms Deeley was refused supply of her prescribed contraceptive pill at our Duke Street pharmacy.

"We have launched an investigation into the incident and been in contact with her to apologise for any distress and inconvenience caused."

A spokeswoman from NHS Sheffield said: "We take patients' concerns very seriously, and while we have not yet received a complaint from Ms Deeley we would be happy to investigate the matter on her behalf if she gets in touch through our normal complaints system."