Feds Putting Pharmacists in Crossfire, Says National Community Pharmacists Association

NCPA July 13, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 13, 2022) – Pharmacists who believe they are acting in good faith in accordance with their state’s laws on abortion shouldn’t be left without a clear pathway forward in response to new guidance by the federal Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, said the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“States have provided very little clarity on how pharmacists should proceed in light of conflicting state and federal laws and regulations. It is highly unfair for state and federal governments to threaten aggressive action against pharmacists who are just trying to serve their patients within new legal boundaries that are still taking shape,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA.

The HHS Office of Civil Rights issued guidance earlier today warning pharmacists who reportedly refuse to dispense certain medicines used to terminate pregnancy, but which are also used to treat other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, that they could be in violation of the federal civil rights laws. The practice of pharmacy is regulated by the states, however, and many have not advised pharmacists on whether, or under what circumstances, they can dispense the drugs in question.

“States must issue clear guidance, and that needs to be an urgent priority,” said Hoey. “Pharmacists are trying to take care of their patients and now they shouldn’t be in the crossfire.”


Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing nearly 19,400 pharmacies that employ approximately 215,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America’s most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpa.org.