CVS fires pharmacist who wouldn't fill transgender customer's prescription

Desiree Burns
July 21, 2018

A CVS pharmacist in Arizona was sacked after he refused to fill the hormone prescription of a transgender woman.

A transgender woman has spoken out after being denied access to her prescribed hormones by a pharmacist in Arizona.

Hilde Hall said she filed an administrative complaint Thursday with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy because she was discriminated against for being transgender, according to a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The incident was reported shortly after another Arizona woman said a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for a miscarriage drug, citing his "moral objection".

But Steve Kilar, spokesperson for the ACLU of Arizona, told Rewire.News that "the Arizona law that allows pharmacists to refuse service to customers pertains only to abortion and emergency contraception medicine, which is not what Hilde was seeking".

"He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal", Hall wrote, "embarrassed and distressed, I almost started crying in the middle of the store", she continued.

After leaving her doctor's, Hall went to get her three prescriptions filled at her local CVS in Fountain Hills, Arizona, but that is when her day "took a turn", and the pharmacist working refused to fill one of the prescriptions Hall needed to affirm her identity. "I just froze and worked on holding back the tears".

Although Hall acknowledged that CVS had received a flawless score from the Human Rights Campaign for its policies related to LGBTQ equality ― a fact also touted in the company's statement ― she said "measures should be in place to ensure no other customer is humiliated like I was".

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The pharmacist allegedly refused to return the paper with the prescriptions.

Hall says she later called her doctor's office, who tried to intervene and get the prescription filled, but the pharmacist refused once again.

The treatment would spur the physical changes in Hall's body that would reflect her identity as a transgender woman, she said.

On Friday, CVS Health apologized about the incident in an emailed statement to The Republic.

"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", said Mike DeAngelis, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for CVS. The chain said the pharmacist's action "does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care".

In a statement, CVS said the pharmacist "violated company policies and is no longer employed" with the company.

CVS said the employee was sacked, and added it had not responded to Hall's complaints because of "an unintentional oversight".

DeAngelo added that CVS is making arrangements to speak with Hall.

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