TUCKER, Ga. - A Tucker woman struggled to get the medication she needed to recover from a miscarriage because the pharmacist did not want to supply it. But as it turns out a Georgia law does allow pharmacists to deny service.
As if two miscarriages in 3 months weren't physically and emotionally draining enough, Sarah Cofer says the trauma didn't end there. She says she and her doctor's office went back and forth with a local pharmacy for hours to get the medication she needed to recover.
The Cofers want to expand their family.
"The second you get that positive test, that baby's real to you," the 28-year-old mother said.
A miscarriage at the beginning of the year made them hold their breath as they hoped things would be different during the next pregnancy
"We were really hopeful because it looked like things were going to turn around," she said.
Friday, Cofer received the news she feared.
"People just don't talk about it and share about it. It can be healing to talk to people who you've been through. You can feel like you've failed this child that you wanted to bring into the world," she said.
Cofer had what's called a missed miscarriage, meaning her body needed some extra help recovering through medication or surgery.
"If you don't get the pregnancy tissue out, you can get sepsis and it can be dangerous," she said.
She opted for the medication. Her doctor wrote a prescription that should've been ready at Walgreens when her husband tried to pick it up.
When it wasn't, the doctor's office called the pharmacy and Cofer multiple times.
"When I picked up, she was flustered. She was really upset. She said, ‘This is what I was worried about. They had it all along, the pharmacist didn't want to fill it. He knew exactly who you were and as soon as I said your name, he said, "That's wrong. That's an abortion drug. I'm not giving it to her,"’" she said.
Cofer said the pharmacist demanded a prescription code and didn't supply the medication until after her doctor explained it was for a miscarriage.
The Georgia Pharmacy Association said Georgia law allows pharmacists "to refuse to fill prescriptions based on professional judgment, ethical or moral beliefs."
The law, enacted in 2001, does not require the refusing pharmacist to provide notification or referrals for patients seeking services.
Cofer said she wants lawmakers to consider a change.
"They should have to notify you and say, 'Hey, I don't want to fill this, take this somewhere else,'" she said.
In a statement, Walgreens wrote:
"We are very sorry for the tragic loss our patient experienced and that we were not able to meet the level of care she needed during this time... We are currently investigating this matter so we can learn what happened and improve future patient experiences."
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