A transgender woman from Phoenix, Arizona alleges that a pharmacist at CVS refused to fill her hormone prescription.
In April, Hilde Hall went immediately from her doctor’s office to CVS pharmacy to get her hormone prescription filled. Hall was eager to begin her transition so that her physical body would better align with her gender identity.
‘I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,’ she told CNN.
However, Hall hit a roadblock when the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription and embarrassed her in front of other customers.
In a blog post Hall published to the ACLU website, she claims the pharmacist did not give a reason why the prescription could not be filled.
‘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,’ Hall wrote.
‘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.’
‘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 says she called CVS’s customer service line twice, but no one addressed her concerns.
CVS responds (finally)
On Thursday 19 July, Hall decided to file a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.
In a statement provided to CNN, CVS said the pharmacist in question violated their company’s policies and is no longer employed by the chain.
‘We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall’s original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight,’ the statement said. ‘We pride ourselves in addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and we are taking steps to prevent this isolated occurrence from happening again.’
Hall appreciated the apology and the fact CVS took her concerns seriously. In the future, she hopes the pharmacy chain will make its nondiscrimination policies public, so other trans people won’t experience what she went through.
‘No one should be denied health care because of who they are,’ ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block told CNN. ‘It is critical that CVS ensures no one is harassed when taking a valid prescription into one of their pharmacies.’
Currently, CVS has a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. This index ranks companies based on their support for LGBTI rights.
Back in 2016, competing pharmacy chain Walgreens provided a comprehensive guide to their pharmacists about treating LGBTI customers with respect.