CVS fires pharmacist who denied hormone prescription to transgender woman

Hilde Hall

Hilde Hall

Drugstore chain CVS is apologizing to an Arizona transgender woman who says she was denied a hormone prescription by a pharmacist.

In a blog post published on the ACLU of Arizona's website, Hall wrote: "After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about how well they know themselves, the pharmacist refused to fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity".

"I left my doctor's office elated", she wrote. I didn't want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor.

"I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I've always known myself to be", said Hall, who declined through an ACLU spokesperson to be interviewed for this article.

"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", she said.

But Hall hit a roadblock when she visited the CVS in Fountain HIlls, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, and gave the attending pharmacist the three prescriptions prescribed by her doctor, according to her statement.

Her doctor's office tried to intervene, but to no avail, so the physicians sent a new prescription to a local Walgreens where the pharmacist filled it without question, according to Hall.

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

CVS told CNN that the particular pharmacist, who refused to fill Hall's prescription has since been fired, the company stressing that they do not condone discrimination.

After Arteaga complained to the pharmacy board about a Walgreens pharmacist denying her a miscarriage-related prescription because of personal beliefs, the agency began an investigation.

Walgreens pharmacists are allowed under a company policy to walk away from filling a prescription if they have a moral objection, the company said in a June statement.

After Hall filed the complaint, a CVS representative contacted her and apologized for the pharmacist's behavior, Steve Kilar with the ACLU of Arizona said Friday. She said she chose the medication instead of undergoing an invasive medical procedure.

Hall called the CVS complaint line many times, but "no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology".

Hall said she was humiliated during the encounter, and believed that the pharmacist was trying to out her as a transgender woman.

Kam Gandhi, executive director at the board, said that the agency hasn't talked to Arteaga or the pharmacist yet, but will aim to do a full investigation before the board's next meeting in August, Gandhi said.

"I left the store feeling mortified", she said.

Employees are required, however, to have another pharmacist or manager handle the prescription so that the patient's needs are met "in a timely manner".

Companies often have individual policies to ensure customers are still served respectfully and efficiently.

Hall said she hopes CVS also will take action and apologize for the way she was treated.

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