The vast majority of respondents never referred to the conscience clause (94%) and did not intend to do so (88%). Nevertheless, when the respondents were asked about the necessity to provide a pharmaceutical service against their conscience, less than one-fifth of the respondents replied that they were in such a situation, and it is such a large number that it cannot be ignored. The responses of the respondents are comparable to the results of the studies by Anna Piecuch, Malwina Gryka and Małgorzata Kozłowska-Wojciechowska. In 2012 surveys, a quarter of the respondents replied that a pharmacist should have the right to conscientious objection . This means that, in the opinion of the respondents, the role of a pharmacist goes beyond purely technical activities, so they want to have the right to make decisions according to their own beliefs. Nevertheless, research conducted in 2020 shows that pharmacists are more aware of the legal aspects of the conscience clause. The majority of respondents (59%) believe that the applicable law does not precisely define a set of rules for medical workers using the conscience clause.
If the conscience clause would be legally regulated for pharmacists, then according to the respondents, the first step should be to establish the circumstances of giving up a given pharmaceutical service dute to moral reservations. To achieve this goal, it would be necessary to develop a list of medicinal products, the implementation of which raises ethical concerns in the opinion of medical workers.
Despite the fulfillment of the above-mentioned indications, one should not forget to present the patient with alternative options of obtaining a given drug from another pharmacist or in another pharmacy. This information is consistent both with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, which concerned the case of Pichon and Sajous v. France [6, 7], and with the provisions of medical law in Great Britain, where the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) verifies the circumstances of pharmacists invoking the clause conscience based on the review of fertility, conception and termination drugs [8, 9].
The research conducted in 2020 shows that out of 100 respondents, as many as 73 people (73%) believe that the law should oblige a medical worker who, due to personal beliefs, refused to perform a professional activity, to indicate another person who will carry out a specific task for him. 18 respondents (18%) disagreed with the above decision, while 9 people did not have an opinion on the subject.
Moreover, both in Poland and America, emergency contraception immediately after an abortion is one of the most frequently indicated reasons for resignation from a specific professional activity by medical workers [10, 11]. In America, emergency contraceptives are included in the list of drugs subject to the conscientious objection clause. The same list also includes vaccines made from aborted human fetal cell lines. In America, the overriding reason for introducing changes to legal regulations was to personally consider whether saving the lives and health of competent people is a higher priority than the life of the fetus.
In Poland, the new act on the profession of pharmacist of 10 December 2020 does not regulate these issues, therefore they will continue to be a cause of a conflict of values among pharmacists. The Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber should develop standards of conduct that will guide pharmacists in order to reconcile personal beliefs with the patient's needs.