CVS apologizes for pharmacist who refused to fill transgender woman's prescription


CVS Health, the parent company of the chain of CVS Pharmacy stores, confirmed Friday the pharmacist had been fired after a customer complained that the pharmacist refused to fill her hormone therapy prescription.

"I left my doctor's office elated", she wrote in the blog post.

A transgender woman who was just starting hormone therapy hit a roadblock when a local pharmacist refused to fill her prescription. She had been excited to finally start her first round of hormone therapy and was 'finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I've always known myself to be'. "Hilde said she was almost in tears by how the pharmacist was treating her, and no one should face that kind of judgment".

"He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal", Hall said in the complaint.

Although Hall acknowledged that CVS had received a ideal 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".

After being denied her prescription, Hall called the CVS customer service line twice and both times her concerns were immediately dismissed.

This month, Hill filed a complaint against CVS with the with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and asked for a public apology.

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

The pharmacist violated CVS policies and "does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, non-discrimination, and the delivery of outstanding patient care".

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It was the second recent controversial incident to take place in a Phoenix-area pharmacy.

News of the encounter comes weeks after another woman, Nicole Arteaga, was denied her miscarriage medication at a Walgreens pharmacy in Peoria, Arizona.

Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said given the current political climate, it's critical that CVS ensures its customers are not harassed in its pharmacies.

Arizona is one of six states that allow pharmacies and pharmacists to refuse to fill some medications - usually those related to emergency contraception - on religious or moral grounds.

She says she left a complaint with a CVS corporate office several times.

The pharmacist reportedly also rejected her doctor's requests to transfer the prescription to another location. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers.

Hall added that the experience left him feeling "embarrassed and stressed" to the point where he nearly broke down crying in the store. The pharmacist said it was against his personal beliefs.

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".

Hall said she hopes CVS also will take action and apologize for the way she was treated. "Is there a company policy that he refused to follow?" said Gibson.