Richard Kalkman: Pharmacist Denied Woman Miscarriage Medicine

Richard Kalkman

ACLU

Richard Kalkman is a pharmacist based in Michigan who refused to provide a woman with the prescription necessary to treat her miscarriage.

The ACLU chapter of Michigan has since filed a complaint with Meijer, the pharmacy where Kalkman is employed. In a statement, Meriss Kovach, a strategist for the ACLU, said, “All women should be able to go to a Meijer Pharmacy to obtain the medicine they need without fear of discrimination. Our client clearly was a victim of sex discrimination. Had the customer been a man prescribed the same medication, that is also commonly used to treat ulcers, the pharmacist would have filled it.”

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Kalkman Has Worked as a Pharmacist For 28 Years

Richard Kalkman

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According to his LinkedIn page, Kalkman has been a pharmacist “in the retail setting” for “over 28 years.”

His LinkedIn bio reads, “I have worked as a pharmacist in the retail setting for over 28 years. I enjoy working with staff, other health care professionals and patients to achieve positive outcomes for my patients. Along with being a staff pharmacist, I have also had the responsibility of being a pharmacy manager for nine years. During my time as a manager I was responsible for overseeing the successful set up and opening of pharmacies at two locations. I pride myself on efficiency, accuracy and a good work ethic. I am honest, caring and have my patients’ and coworkers’ best interest in mind always. I am committed to the hard work ethic, integrity and fortitude required to effectively thrive in this caring and healing profession of pharmacy.”

Kalkman’s LinkedIn also reveals that he has worked for Meijer since 1989, and that he attended Ferris State University from 1985-1990 to receive a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.


2. Kalkman Denied Her Prescription Because He Is a ‘Good Catholic Male’

Richard Kalkman

‌Facebook

According to the press release by the ACLU, Peterson called in a prescription on July 1 to be filled out at the Meijer pharmacy in Petoskey, Michigan. She needed to take the medication in a “timely manner” after having a recent miscarriage, otherwise she risked having surgery.

Kalkman was the pharmacy working at the time, and he said he could not “in good conscience fill the prescription” as a “good Catholic male” because he believed it “was her intention to end a pregnancy.”

Peterson explained to him that a doctor had confirmed there were no signs of viability from the fetus, and Kalkman reportedly said that this was just “her word.”


3. Kalkman Appears to Have Broken Company Policy by Not Transferring Peterson to Another Pharmacist

Though Meijer confirmed that it is company policy to decline to fill a customer’s prescription based upon their religious beliefs, that pharmacist is also obliged to make sure the prescription is filled by another pharmacist, or even to contact another pharmacy to fill the prescription as long as it’s convenient to the customer.

Kalkman reportedly did no such thing. Rather, he refused to transfer Peterson’s prescription to another pharmacist, and refused to transfer her prescription to another pharmacy.


4. The ACLU Is Demanding That Meijer Implement a More Non-Discriminatory Policy

The prescription that Peterson requested is, per the ACLU letter to Meijer, an “FDA-approved medication commonly used to treat ulcers, start labor, and treat miscarriages.” As a result, the ACLU is alleging that if Peterson had been a male, she would have been able to fill this presciption  with Kalkman without any issue, and that makes his policy discriminatory.

The letter reads,

“Ms. Peterson had to leave her family vacation in northern Michigan early to drive 3 1/2 hours down-state to another pharmacy near her home in Ionia, Michigan. The Ionia pharmacy, also a Meijer, said they would fill the prescription, but had a hard time obtaining it from the Petoskey Meijer pharmacy.”

The letter continues, “Not only were Mr. Kalkman’s actions discriminatory, they also violated several ethics rules promulgated by the Michigan Pharmacists Association and the American Pharmacists Association. Mr. Kalkman blatantly ignored the ethical obligation to ‘protect the dignity of the patient,’ and ‘help [the patient] achieve optimum benefit from [her] medications.'”


5. When Peterson’s Mother Called Kalkman, He Again Accused Peterson of Lying About Her Miscarriage

The ACLU letter read in part, 

“Following Ms. Peterson’s conversation with Mr. Kalkman, Ms. Peterson’s mother called the pharmacy to get the name of the pharmacist to denied her daughter’s prescription. Upon learning that the caller was Ms. Peterson’s mother, Mr. Kalkman began disclosing the details of Ms. Peterson’s prescription to her mother. He again accused Ms. Peterson of lying about her miscarriage. Mr. Kalkman did not ask for consent prior to sharing personal medical information with Peterson’s mother.”

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