A YOUNG woman was left “humiliated” after a male Boots pharmacist refused to give her an emergency supply of her contraceptive pill.
Maggie Richmond, 24, blasted the senior employee’s “misogynistic attitude” after the pharmacist refused to provide her with her pill – and didn’t even give her a reason for doing so.
Maggie had been told by her doctor to collect a repeat prescription of the tablets – but the pharmacist refused to help her and just said “no.”
When she entered the Boots branch in Edinburgh city centre, she was met with a “tight-lipped” assistant who made no effort to help the young woman’s predicament.
Maggie, who is a therapist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, was shocked by how unhelpful the Boots staff were – and believes the male pharmacist, who refused to speak to her, hasn’t “got a leg to stand on.”
She said: “I went in and explained to the shop assistant if I could speak to the pharmacist about getting this emergency one month’s supply.
I am a strong and independent 24-year-old individual with a thick skin and I found this humiliating
“She was really quite tight-lipped and not that accommodating or friendly and said she would ask the pharmacist – she came back and told me, ‘He says no.’
“I told her this is what my GP is advising me to do – so she went back to speak to him again then came back and told me, ‘No, sorry’.
The 24-year-old felt that his refusal was directly to do with the nature of her request – as he then refused to come out and speak to her directly.
She added: “The vibe I was getting was that his refusal was specifically to do with what I was asking for. That he didn’t want to give it to me.
“He looked up when I came in then refused to come out and speak to me.”
After her cold experience in Boots, Maggie went to two other pharmacies where female employees said they were more than happy to help, but they didn’t have the medication in stock.
The 24-year-old was then served in another Boots branch by a female pharmacist, who treated her with “respect and dignity.”
She was then prescribed her emergency supply of contraceptive pills without any problems.
Maggie told the Daily Record: “I am most concerned this extremely negative experience appears to have been the result of a misogynistic attitude.
“I am a strong and independent 24-year-old individual with a thick skin and I found this humiliating.
“I can only imagine how a young or more vulnerable woman would be made to feel in these circumstances.
“It seemed that he really didn’t have that right to refuse me.”
Emma Ritch, executive director of Scottish feminist organisation Engender, said: “Many people reading this will be shocked to learn that it is still seen as perfectly acceptable for pharmacists to withhold prescribed medication from patients based on their personal moral beliefs.”
A Boots UK spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to the patient for any inconvenience and distress caused when requesting an emergency supply of her regular contraceptive medication.
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“Contraceptive pills need a blood pressure check at regular intervals, and given that this was within GP opening hours, the pharmacist’s professional view was that before dispensing, it would be appropriate to refer this patient to her GP for a check and prescription.
“We’re very sorry this wasn’t explained better to the patient, and have shared her experience with the pharmacist to improve our service in the future.”
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