Complaint to HDC over treatment

A Dunedin woman has lodged a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) over the way she was dealt with by a local pharmacy when seeking the emergency contraceptive pill.

Student magazine Critic this week reported a young Dunedin woman complained to the HDC over the way she was treated when she visited Wilkinson and Son Chemists seeking an emergency contraceptive pill.

Critic reported the woman complained to the HDC after feeling ''uncomfortable'' about the questions she was asked during her consultation, the woman saying her visit finished with the pharmacist advising the ''best method of contraception was to hold an aspirin pill between my knees''.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times this week, Wilkinson and Son Chemists pharmacist Warren Leonard said it tried hard to make it a ''positive experience'' for women who visited seeking the emergency contraceptive pill (ESP).

He confirmed a complaint had been made against the pharmacy to the HDC relating to a woman's visit in December.

Asked if he told the woman the ''best contraception is an aspirin between the knees'' he said: ''If I did that, I would have said there is an old joke about that, and the old joke was told to me by my brother and he always said, 'The best contraception is an aspirin between the knees'.

''If I said that, that would have been said as a joke, to again, try and make [her] feel relaxed.''

Responding to the woman's claim that religion was brought up in the consultation, he said: ''I don't ask whether they are religious at all. We explain that the pill does not actually prevent pregnancy.

''It actually affects implementation of the fertilised egg. Now that has obvious ramifications for people who are of various religious aspects, for example Catholic, and ... I also explain that is the reason we just tell them that.

''I don't care what religion they are, but since I married a Catholic I understand some of the Catholic faith and the Catholic ideas about things.''

He did not recall telling the woman her partner was a ''lucky guy'' or she was ''pretty and athletic, like his daughters'', as was alleged in Critic.

''Mind you, it was a fair while ago and I don't try to remember every conversation I have anyway.''

He was not against the emergency contraceptive pill personally and did not judge women who came in seeking it.

''I actually rate them for coming in talking to a person who is probably old enough to be their father or even maybe their grandfather and resolving it.

''I'm a little sad ... that one person has got upset. For that person, if I have upset them in anyway, I really do apologise to them.''

He had replied to a request for information from the HDC and was now awaiting its decision.

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