Pharmacists feel discriminated by Equality Bill

Concern that new law will strip conscientious objection right


Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Chamber of Pharmacists deem that the Equality Bill, as drafted, is in breach of medical professionals’ human rights. The medical professionals voiced their concerns with the President of Malta Dr. George Vella. 

The bill has been criticized by several organisations, amongst which Medical Association of Malta, Independent Schools Association, and the Church Schools Association.

MAM insists equality bill should preserve right to conscientious objection
MAM insists Equality Bill should preserve right to conscientious objection

‘The Bill as drafted and amended to date, undermines the Oath (to take decisions bases on science and conscience) and the Code of Ethics that guide pharmacists and harbours a conscientious objection clause’, the Chamber declared about the Equality Bill 96.

Pharmacists, as other medical professionals, take decisions based on science, ethical values inherent to their profession and conscience. Therefore, they are requesting that their profession is exempt and retain their right to conscientious objection. 

This concern of limiting freedom of conscience was discussed during the programme Newsbook Q&A with the former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights Dr Vincent De Gaetano.

Newsbook Q&A with Judge Dr VIncent De Gaetano
Q&A: Should the proposed Equality Bills worry you?

In a statement the Chamber of Pharmacists declared, ‘Under the watch of these persons who serve the Constitution, and the people, pharmacists and other health care professionals must not be stripped of their right to freedom of thought and conscience in the context of legal health care.’

Conscientious objection in medicine is the notion that a health care provider can abstain from offering certain types of medical care with which he/she does not personally agree. 

The letter was also sent to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Good Governance and the Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reforms.