American Pharmacists Association gives award to homophobic pseudo-scientist, plugs his book

You all need to go over to this DailyKos diary and check out this craziness from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Here’s the deal:

Back in July, the APhA announced that the Louisiana Pharmacists Association (LPA) would be giving their 2015 Bowl of Hygeia award for outstanding community service to one Lloyd J. Duplantis. The award is given out by state chapters, but is sponsored by the national organization. For a little background on Duplantis, here’s a clip from APhA’s own press release announcing his award:

Duplantis is actively involved in the pharmacy profession. He has been a registered pharmacist since 1969 and has authored articles for various publications as well as two books of his own. The first, entitled “Lloyd’s Remedies,” is a self-help home remedy book based on his years of practical pharmaceutical experience. The second is entitled “The Pill: America’s Sacred Cow,” and recounts his research on the effect of the oral contraceptive pill on patients’ lives and society as a whole. As a compounding pharmacist specializing in hormonal preparations, Duplantis has done extensive research on the mode of action and short- and long-term side effects of hormonal contraceptives.

Yeah, about that: Duplantis is a quack, and “The Pill: America’s Sacred Cow” isn’t much more than a collection of homophobic, conspiratorial, pseudo-scientific bio-babble. Here are a few quotes highlighted in the diary:

  • “All contraceptive products have much more potential for harm rather than the possibility of benefit.”
  • “Oral contraceptives are steroid based chemicals and therefore create an immune-compromising situation which makes individuals more susceptible to infections of all kinds.”
  • “The blood of women taking oral contraceptives often takes on a green color.”
  • “Any pharmacist practicing for any length of time has been approached and asked whether he has any outdated birth control pills for use on plants.”

And, finally, the really fun one:

  • “It is proposed by several researchers that the constant bathing of the female ovaries with exogenous female sex hormones affects the complex chromosome balance of the ovum while still in the ovary. This is hypothesized as a factor in the increased occurrence of effeminate men in the American population with the subsequent practice of homosexuality resulting in the rampant spread of HIV and AIDS infections.”

Yup, the pill might make you gay. And because gayness causes AIDS, then by the transitive property of Duplantis’s own rear end, the pill is partially to blame for that, too.

There’s also an entire chapter in the book outlining a positively bonkers conspiracy theory about AIDS coming to America. As he conjectures, it all started with birth-control tablet experiments on Haitians, which of course made them gay. Then, following a “unique population transfer” between Haiti and the African nation of Zaire, where the HIV virus had been created as a result of “errant vaccine experiments,” the virus was able to hop over to our hemisphere.

The DailyKos user who flagged this for me — who is himself a pharmacist, so he knows exactly how bogus Duplantis’s claims are — has been asking the APhA to rescind Duplantis’s award ever since it was announced. He’s emailed. He’s called. He’s sent letters. He’s got a petition you can sign here. He’s been particularly keen to hear how APhA squares Duplantis’s practices with their self-reported value of “Respect for the patient’s role in managing their health is central to care.” He has gotten no response.

This is perhaps due to the fact that Duplantis doesn’t live up to that value. Like, at all. Before writing his most recent book, Duplantis had already made a name for himself by leading a movement of pharmacists who were opposed to all forms of contraception, going out of their way to make sure that their patients had as little access to it as possible. From this 2004 report from CBS News:

The Pill, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pill, via Wikimedia Commons

At Lloyd’s Pharmacy in Gray, La., Lloyd Duplantis believes in prayer.

“God bless the great state of Louisiana, the parish…In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit…” Duplantis said in a makeshift prayer group in the middle of his store.

And he believes birth control is tantamount to abortion. So, he stocks his shelves accordingly.

“I don’t sell condoms. I don’t sell foams. I don’t sell creams,” Duplantis said. “I don’t sell anything to do with contraception.”

He said, even if a woman who was the victim of incestuous rape walked in his door after having been prescribed the pill, he wouldn’t change his policy.

“I would tell her that I can’t prescribe this,” Duplantis said.

Few question a pharmacist’s right to make a moral choice. But doesn’t one have a distinct responsibility as a pharmacist?

“That’s right, and that’s what I’m doing,” Duplantis said. “There’s science supporting my moral decision.”

But sure, he’s earned the endorsement of the most prominent national organization in his field.

Keep in mind, the APhA is not only giving this guy an award, they cited and summarized this book — that makes these claims — in the press release that explains why he deserves it. So it isn’t as if whoever selected him missed the fact that he’s peddling ridiculous and damaging junk science. It isn’t being ignored; it’s being celebrated.

That’s nuts.

Edit: An earlier version of this post indicated that APhA had responded to an inquiry by claiming that Duplantis embodied the value of “Respect for the patient’s role in managing their health is central to care.” That is a value on their site, but they have not issued any response regarding Duplantis thus far.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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