Walgreens Lawsuit Points Out the Problem with Consumer Protests: Where to Shop!

Tell me:  Where am I supposed to buy aspirin and sundries now?

I’m trying to be politically correct and support consumer sentiment; but my drug store options are shrinking! It’s no longer politically correct to support CVS or Rite-Aid or Walgreens.

So where’s a girl supposed to get shampoo and bandaids and birthday cards and the occasional candy bar?


Recently I wrote about CVS Pharmacy‘s new plan to discontinue sales of all tobacco products. I was pleased by that positive sign; however, my readers over on Facebook were quick to remind me that the chain has a large “family-planning” (aka contraceptive) section which included—get this!–sex toys.


Rite Aid—at least, its stores in Lancaster, California—were the subject of protests in 2009 because of their refusal to permit employees to unionize. In 2010 and again in 2011, the protest spread nationwide as Rite-Aid workers from around the country gathered at 40 different stores to protest management efforts to prevent unionization.


And now on Tuesday, February 11, the Thomas More Society–along with Brentwood, TN attorney Larry Crain–filed suit against Walgreens Pharmacy, on behalf of a pharmacist who was fired in a freedom of religion case that’s sure to get a lot of attention. Dr. Phillip Hall, a Baptist who had worked at the store for six years, has received consistently favorable reviews for his performance. But now, for exercising his constitutionally and statutorily protected right to freedom of religion, Dr. Hall is job-hunting.

According to the Thomas More Society:

From the time of his hiring in March 2007, Dr. Hall followed Walgreens’ well-known protocol allowing him to ask another pharmacist to dispense prescription drugs such as Plan B. After the implementation of new FDA protocols in August of 2013, requiring that Plan B be sold over-the-counter, Dr. Hall reiterated to his superiors his religious objections to selling the drug and followed up with a call to the employee relations department at Walgreens’ corporate headquarters to express his concerns.

One month later, Dr. Hall was questioned by his superiors about how he would treat a request for the drug. As he had been informed of no change in store policy due to the change in FDA regulations, he verbally went through the standard protocol, which he had followed for the past six years. But then he was fired on the spot.

It is illegal for Walgreens to attempt to force employees like Dr. Hall to dispense certain drugs in violation of their religious and moral beliefs,” stated Jocelyn Floyd, attorney with the Thomas More Society, “especially after six years of settled store practices showed that Walgreens could reasonably accommodate Dr. Hall’s religious beliefs with no difficulties.

But there is one thing on which the three chains (CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite-Aid) can agree: The pharmacy chains all refused to sell Rolling Stone‘s August issue, which featured Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jennifer Fitz

    Nooooooo! I love my Walgreens! Ack. So that leaves me with what? Target? Are they still good?

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    We have ShopKo and Safeway. ShopKo is like mini-Walmart, except more expensive. When I can, I get things at the little local-not-a-chain-pharmacy.

  • I’ve never seen the sex toys at my CVS. I don’t care about the contraceptives and even sex toys if they’re not on open display. Those are individual decisions the consumer has to make. But I do care about abortifacients (that kills a third party human entity) and as far as I know they all sell it. If one would come out against them i would shift my allegience in a heartbeat. Does anyone know of a pharmacy that does not sell Plan B and those kind of drugs?

  • alliect84

    I’m not sure the Walgreens entry tells the whole story. Mr. Hall didn’t just refuse to ring in transactions; he personally purchased and destroyed the full stock of Plan B, thus preventing anyone else from buying it. The problem was that he took direct action to prevent customers who want a product from accessing it. If it’s legal for Christians to do it, it would be legal for others as well. (i.e. a cable company employee could cut off your internet access because he didn’t want you commenting on this post. A pilot could decide to purchase all the tickets to a city where a political rally is taking place. A group of people could buy all the bibles in stores to prevent anyone from accessing them, etc.)