Transgender Arizona woman says CVS pharmacist refused to fill prescription

Pearl Mccarthy
July 22, 2018

Hilde Hall, a transgender woman, says a CVS pharmacist refused to fill her hormone medication and loudly questioned her in front of other customers.

"On a recent day in April, I left my doctor's office elated".

Hall ended up getting her prescription at another pharmacy. Her doctor was able to get the prescription filled at a local Walgreens.

"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.

Without giving a clear reason, the man "just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions", Hall wrote in an essay on the American Civil Liberties Union's website.

Hall added that the experience left him feeling "embarrassed and stressed" to the point where he nearly broke down crying in the store.

In her essay, Hall explained why she didn't want to engage with the pharmacist.

"There's a good portion of people who still think like that or along the lines of, it's just not right in their eyes", she said. "It is critical that CVS ensures no one is harassed when taking a valid prescription into one of their pharmacies".

Hall has filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

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"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.

CVS responded to the situation in a statement on Friday, stating that the pharmacist was no longer employed by the chain because he had violated its company policies.

Hall said she reached out to the CVS corporate office multiple times, but no one ever addressed her concerns.

According to AZCentral, Arizona is one of six states that "allows pharmacies and pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription on religious or moral grounds"; however, the pharmacists are required to inform their employer about any religious convictions in advance.

On Friday, CVS Health apologized about the incident in an emailed statement to The Republic. The company said the employee had been fired, but did not disclose if it happened immediately or after media reports on the incident. "If CVS does not take steps, like written policies and employee training, to protect its transgender customers from discrimination, we may explore litigation".

"We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall's original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight", DeAngelis said in the email.

"My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused", she wrote. "But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am".

"If there is an instance where a particular pharmacist has a belief that they can't fill a prescription, they need to take action right away to make sure that someone else is taking care of it", Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona's communications director, told CBS Arizona affiliate KPHO.

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