Transgender woman says pharmacist refused to provide hormone prescription

Hilde Hall outside the pharmacy that refused to fill her prescription. (Photo courtesy of ACLU)
Hilde Hall outside the pharmacy that refused to fill her prescription. (Photo courtesy of ACLU)

PHOENIX — A transgender woman in Arizona has said a pharmacist at a CVS location refused to provide prescribed hormones this past April.

This is the second time in a week that CVS has been under fire for the discriminatory actions of employees.

Hilde Hall had just received the prescriptions to start her transition that day. She talked about the experience in a blog post for the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU).

From Hall’s blog post:

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.

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. I left the store feeling mortified.

When I got home, I called my doctor’s office to explain what happened. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why. My doctor ended up having to call the prescription into the local Walgreens, where the medication was filled without question. I transferred all of my prescriptions there so that I never again have to see the pharmacist who discriminated against me.

I have contacted CVS’ corporate complaint line multiple times, but no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology.

Since the the blog post went viral on Thursday, CVS has responded.

The company told CNN that the pharmacist violated company policies and is no longer employed.

“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 added. “We pride ourselves in addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and we are taking steps to prevent this isolated occurrence from happening again.”

CNN also reported that Hall had filed a formal complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday.