Transgender woman says CVS pharmacist refused to fill hormone prescription

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A transgender woman in Arizona was refused her hormone treatment medication by a CVS pharmacist.

Hilde Hall had gotten her first hormone therapy prescription from her doctor in April and immediately took it to a CVS Pharmacy in Fountain Hill to have it filled.

But when she gave her prescription to the pharmacist, he denied her the medication without giving a reason, she wrote.

"Embarrassed and distressed, I almost started crying in the middle of the store", she said. Hall wrote, "I left the store feeling mortified".

Hall, who says she will never return to that CVS as she never wants to see 'the pharmacist who discriminated against me, ' says she complained to both CVS and the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

Following the incident at CVS, Hall contacted her doctors who called the pharmacist but she says he refused to explain why he wouldn't fill the prescription.

"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", said the statement. The statement said he "violated company policies and does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion".

In June, a pharmacist at a Peoria Walgreens, based on ethical beliefs, refused to fill a woman's prescription for a medication to induce a miscarriage.

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.

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After the encounter, Hall asked the pharmacist again for her prescription back but he refused once more.

She claims the pharmacist loudly questioned her in front of other customers and rejected her and her doctor's requests to transfer the prescription to another location.

According to Hall, she tried repeatedly to reach CVS' corporate complaint line, but no one apologized or addressed the incident. "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".

"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. The company apologized on social media Friday, noting that the pharmacist is also no longer employed by CVS.

ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block said the assurances from the pharmacy chain are important at a moment in time when the Trump administration has signaled its intent to roll back health care protections for transgender and non-binary individuals.

"I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers", Hall wrote.

Meanwhile, those in the LGBTQ community say it's a step in the right direction, but sadly the pharmacist's actions were not surprising.

Through training and written policies, the company needs to make it clear to their employees - especially their pharmacists - that transgender customers deserve respect.