CVS fires pharmacist who wouldn't fill transgender customer's prescription

Faith Castro
July 24, 2018

An Arizona transgender woman says a CVS pharmacist refused to fill her hormone prescription.

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

Hall said the prescription marked her first round of hormone therapy. Hall had just left the doctor's office eager to receive the medication that she said would finally "affirm my identity".

"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", said in a statement to The Hill.

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

Hall said she almost started crying.

CVS says it has a history of supporting LGBTQ rights, helping to develop a guide for pharmacy care for gay, lesbian and transgender customers.

She said she "froze" and tried to hold back her tears.

Hall asked for her script back so she could get the prescription filled elsewhere, but the pharmacist refused, she said.

Eventually her doctor called the prescription into a local Walgreens where it was filled without question.

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On Thursday, she filed a complaint against the company with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

CVS released a statement, apologizing for the incident. The conduct of the pharmacist, who is no longer employed by CVS, violated company policies and does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care.

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CVS spokesman DeAngelis apologized for the company's unresponsiveness to Hall's complaints about her treatment.

The Arizona State Board of Pharmacy is investigating after Nicole Arteaga described in a viral Facebook post how she was publicly humiliated when attempting to fill the prescription to end her pregnancy - a pregnancy she wanted, but needed to terminate because she would ultimately miscarry.

Companies often have individual policies to ensure customers are still served respectfully and efficiently. Hall told her doctor's office about the situation with CVS and the office staff reached out to the pharmacy.

"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", the statement reads.

"So far what I have experienced is a lot of dirty looks and a lot of some people spitefully using the wrong pronouns", Inderrinden said.

According to the ACLU, Hall said Friday that she had spoken with a CVS representative, who also apologized on behalf of the company, and appreciated the company for taking "her experience seriously". Trump now has plans to roll back a policy that protects transgender and non-binary people from discrimination in the health care industry.

Arizona and five other states-including Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota-have laws on the books protecting pharmacists who refuse to fill certain prescriptions based on their religious beliefs.

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