CVS pharmacist fired after refusing to fill transgender woman’s hormone prescription
A CVS pharmacist in Arizona was fired after he refused to fill the hormone prescription of a transgender woman.
Hilde Hall wrote a blog post on Thursday for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) describing how a CVS pharmacist in Fountain Hills, Ariz., refused to fill her prescription for hormone therapy in April.
“He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal,” Hall wrote. “He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions.”
Hall wrote that she was “embarrassed and distressed” and almost started crying in the middle of the store.
“When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled,” Hall wrote. “I left the store feeling mortified.”
Hall said even her doctor’s office was unable to persuade the pharmacist to fill the prescription. It was later filled at a Walgreens pharmacy “without question.”
It was the first time she received a prescription for the hormone therapy.
“I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,” Hall wrote.
She said she has contacted CVS’s corporate complaint line multiple times but was ignored.
CVS Health apologized for the incident on Friday in a statement to The Hill.
“CVS Health extends its sincere apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring,” said the statement.
CVS said the employee was fired, and added it had not responded to Hall’s complaints because of “an unintentional oversight.”
The pharmacist violated the company’s policies and “does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care,” CVS said.
The ACLU’s branch in Arizona thanked CVS for taking the incident “seriously.”
“[Hall] spoke with a CVS representative today who offered a sincere apology on behalf the company and said that the pharmacist who mistreated Hilde acted outside of the company’s guidelines,” said Steve Kilar, communications director with the ACLU of Arizona, in a statement to The Hill on Saturday. “Hilde hopes that CVS will make its nondiscrimination policies public, so that transgender and non-binary customers have some assurance the corporation will take appropriate action if similar discrimination occurs in the future.”
Hall had filed a complaint on Thursday with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, asking CVS to publicly take action and apologize.
“Measures should be in place to ensure no other customer is humiliated like I was,” she wrote.
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.”
-Updated July 21 at 6:38 p.m.