Germany: Court ruling on EC dispensing

June 2024. In Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court ruled that a pharmacist cannot refuse dispensing emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) because of his or her beliefs or “conscience”.

The Berlin Pharmacist Chamber had initiated a process against a pharmacist who systematically refused to stock and dispense ECPs in his pharmacy because he believed ECPs could “end a life”.  The Court ruling clarifies that ECPs “only delay or prevent ovulation”, and that “anyone who decides to run a public pharmacy must ensure comprehensive care”.

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