A Catholic pharmacist who equated emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) with abortion has ended his career because of the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC's) stance on its supply.
The GPhC banned Piotr Mikolaj Majchrowicz, registration number 2069549, from supplying the morning-after pill for three years in 2013 after hearing that he told a patient she was “ending a life” and taking the drug would be “on her conscience”.
At a review hearing last month (August 28), the GPhC found that his stance on EHC had since “hardened”. Mr Majchrowicz was not present, but wrote a letter to the fitness-to-practise committee saying he has no wish to work like a “vending machine” or to withhold his “knowledge about the abortifacient properties” of EHC.
Mr Majchrowicz also expressed dissatisfaction with the GPhC requirement for pharmacists who refuse to supply EHC to direct patients to another pharmacy where the pill is available because it goes “against their conscience”. He cited the GPhC's stance as the reason behind his decision to end his pharmacy career.
The regulator said it had “no choice” but to continue to impose conditions on Mr Majchrowicz's registration until he changed his view. He will be informed of how to voluntarily remove himself from the register, although it is “entirely” up to him whether to do so, the GPhC said.
A 'chemical abortion'
Mr Majchrowicz initially appeared in front of the GPhC after subjecting a patient to a “distressing lecture” on the ethics of EHC in 2012, while working at Boots. He took the patient to the consultation room to discuss the supply, but “kept on sighing” and seemed “very uncomfortable” with the situation, the patient told the GPhC at the time. He told her that supplying the drug went against his religion because it amounted to a chemical abortion.
Although Mr Majchrowicz agreed to supply the drug, the patient was too upset to take it and “broke down in tears” at home soon afterwards, the GPhC heard.
In his 2013 hearing, Mr Majchrowicz admitted telling the patient that EHC was against his faith and amounted to abortion, saying that was “how the Pope would see it.” He added that he had supplied EHC in a similar way before but had received no complaints. He denied saying the act would be on the conscience of the patient.
The GPhC ruled that his advice had been “anything but impartial” and he had instead given a “distressing explanation of why his religion regarded EHC as morally wrong”. This went against the regulator's code of conduct, which requires pharmacists to respect cultural differences and ensure their views do not affect their professional service, it said.
Although Mr Majchrowicz had a previously unblemished record, he was “wholly unrepentant”, the GPhC ruled at the time.
Read Mr Majchrowicz's review hearing here.