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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pharmaceutical Halacha

Situation:
An Orthodox Jewish woman walks into a pharmacy to get a specific vitamin pill which was prescribed for her but is not Kosher. The pharmacist is also Orthodox, and questions her purchase of a non-Kosher pill. The woman replies that she asked a shaila to two different rabbonim and was told that she could do so for this [important] pill, which she only swallows and does not chew. The pharmacist then asks if she'd drink milk without a hechsher, to which she replies - amused - that milk doesn't need a hechsher. The pharmacist replies that he's never heard of such a psak about pills, and begrudgingly fills the prescription... but refuses to check the woman out at the pharmacy counter because of it, forcing her to go to the regular lines which take fifteen minutes.
Question:
Do you think the pharmacist was right or wrong for doing so, and why? What do you think the issues might be?
Note: I think this is slightly different from the cases in the courts regarding those unwilling to fulfill birth control or 'morning after' prescriptions; he is filling the prescription. He's simply not performing the actual 'sale' of the item.

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