By Mila Madison
In her blog ACLU blog post on Thursday, Hilde Hall said she was elated as she left her doctor’s office this past April with her first HRT prescription and went straight to the CVS in Fountain Hills, Arizona to have it filled. This is when things took a turn for the worse when the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription.
“He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal. He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions,” Hall said in her post. “Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.”
Hall said the pharmacist then refused to give the prescription back to her. “When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled,” Hall wrote.” I left the store feeling mortified.”
After having her prescription taken away from her, Hall contacted her doctor who wrote her a new prescription that she was able to fill at a local Walgreens without issue. She had contacted CVS’ corporate complaint line on multiple occasions, but did not receive a response.
Ater hearing about her ACLU post, CVS fired the employee and issued Hall and apology, claiming the pharmacist violated company policy by refusing her prescription on the grounds of her being transgender. Though Arizona law says a company must accommodate any religious convictions that prevent a pharmacist from filing specific medications, Arizona pharmacists are required to notify the company in advance regarding any religious convictions that would prevent them from fulfilling their duties.
According to CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis, all CVS pharmacy staff members are made aware of these policies through training and internal communications.
CVS also issued a public apology through a statement posted on Twitter: