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CVS Under Fire For Refusing To Sell Plan B Pill To A Man

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Texas man, after a long and frustrating argument with pharmacists at a CVS in Mesquite, has enlisted the help of the ACLU to sue CVS for gender discrimination.

Jason Melbourne had visited four pharmacies in search of the Plan B emergency contraceptive for his wife who was at home with their children.  Melbourne was told to try a CVS in Mesquite, 15 miles from his home.  The nighttime pharmacist refused to sell Melbourne the contraceptive, which happened to be the last one they had left, saying that they would need to speak to his wife directly and verify her age as it is not allowed to be sold to anyone under 17.  Melbourne pointed out that they would be selling it to him and he was over 17.  The pharmacist still refused saying that the contraceptive wasn’t for him.  Melbourne then got his wife on the phone to confirm it was for her, and even googled the pill to show that there was no laws against selling it to a man, but the pharmacist still refused.  At this point, another pharmacy technician came up and informed Melbourne that they did not want to sell emergency contraception to men because they might be giving it to rape victims.

A similar situation happened around the same time in Houston where another CVS pharmacist refused to sell Plan B to a man, for which CVS has already apologized and called it an isolated incident.  However, the ACLU reported that they received complaints in 2010 about Walgreen’s pharmacists doing the same in Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.  Walgreen’s relented after publicly confronted by the ACLU.  After the Houston incident, a spokesman for CVS said that the company had briefed all stores on official policy,

“to follow FDA regulations for the sale of emergency contraception, which allows this product to be sold without a prescription to customers who are at least 17 years old, regardless of gender.”

But the store manager at the Mesquite store backed up the decision of the pharmacists, saying they couldn’t confirm that it wouldn’t be given to an underage woman.  Lisa Graybill, the legal director of the Texas ACLU, has said she is not aware of a single case of a pedophile giving the Plan B pill to his underage victims.  After the incident at the Mesquite store, Melbourne said he was outraged,

“I chased this thing all over town, then I get accused of using this for rape, even after they’ve talked to my wife on the phone. It makes me feel like a piece of crap.”


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