A 14-year-old girl with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis was refused a refill of a life-saving prescription drug in Tucson, Arizona, because of the state’s new abortion law.
Her doctor said he prescribed the immunosuppressant methotrexate to fight the pain and symptoms of her disease. But she was refused a refill of the drug after Arizona rolled out its new law against abortions on 24 September, on the basis that she’s female and the drug can also be used to end ectopic pregnancies. Men, however, can take the drug without restriction.
The girl’s doctor, Deborah Jane Power, took to Twitter in a post that has since gone viral, saying the teen was denied the drug on the grounds of her gender.
“Welcome to AZ. Today a pharmacist denied the MTX refill for my adolescent patient. She’s on 5 mg/wk to prevent AHCA Ab production. MTX denied purely because she’s a female, barely a teenager. Livid! No discussion, just a denial. Now to fight for what’s best for this pt (sic),” Dr. Power wrote on Twitter.
Dr. Power told local station KOLD TV that the girl was her first pediatric patient to be denied her medication on these grounds, adding that the teenager had worked a lot over years to get her pain to a “totally manageable” stage and she was now able to attend school as a result.
The teenager’s mother told the news outlet her the family is now worried about having to look for alternative medication.
“It’s her first year and she’s in high school and it feels like a dream. She’s not in a wheelchair, she has a social life and friends for the first time and a life all young people should have,” the mother said.
The mother said the situation is a source of anxiety for the family.
“I was scared, I am really scared,” she said. “I’m like if they deny this then we’ll have to find a different medication and we don’t know if it’s going to work.”
Welcome to AZ. Today a pharmacist denied the MTX refill for my adolescent patient. She's on 5 mg/wk to prevent AHCA Ab production. MTX denied purely because she's a female, barely a teenager. Livid! No discussion, just a denial. Now to fight for what's best for this pt.
— Deborah Jane Power (@bonespower) September 27, 2022