Jersey City man claims Rite Aid pharmacy refused to sell him contraceptive because he's male
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 8:57 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 8:57 AM
Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
A Jersey City man’s claim that a Rite Aid in the Jersey City Heights refused to sell him over-the-counter emergency contraception pills because he is a man has prompted the ACLU of New Jersey to demand Rite Aid end its alleged discriminatory sale of the product.
“They said ‘I can’t sell it to you because you are male,’ ” Andrew Andrade, 25, of Congress Street, said yesterday of his April 23 visit to the Central Avenue pharmacy to get Plan B pills, also known as the “morning after pill,” for his girlfriend.
“I was really upset and I knew they were wrong,” Andrade said at the ACLU of New Jersey headquarters in Newark.
The New Jersey City State University criminal justice major said that after the check-out person refused to sell him the item, he asked to see a manager and the manager told him the same thing.
“I walked out and went to the pharmacy down the street, Bond Drugs, and I bought them,” said Andrade, adding that at Bond Drugs “I had no problem whatsoever.” He then called the ACLU.
Jeanne LoCicero, deputy legal director for the state ACLU, said her office sent Rite Aid corporate headquarters a letter claiming the company had discriminated against Andrade.
The letter asks Rite Aid to instruct its employees on the law, provide the ACLU with a copy of its guidelines, and apologize to Andrade. The letter arrived yesterday, she said.
“Emergency contraception is time-sensitive,” LoCicero said. “He had access down the block, but there might be others who do not have such quick access.” She said if Rite Aid does not comply with the ACLU’s request, “We will look at it at that time.”
Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said yesterday the company takes the matter very seriously and is looking into it to see what happened.
“Our policy is to sell the Plan B product to anyone, male or female, 17 years and older, as long as they have valid, government-issued identification,” Flower said.
Bond Drugs owner Sandy Fishman took a break from filling prescriptions yesterday morning to talk about his store’s policy on selling Plan B.
“If you are 17 years old and can prove it with identification, you can buy it without a doctor’s order whether you are male or female. That’s the law,” Fishman said.
The manager of the Rite Aid on Central Avenue said he could not comment on the matter.