Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Medicine | By Debra Reynolds

Transgender woman: A CVS pharmacist denied my hormone prescription

Transgender woman: A CVS pharmacist denied my hormone prescription

When Hilde Hall walked into her local CVS to fill her first prescription for hormone therapy, the pharmacist refused her service.

"Hilde was so excited when she got out of the doctor's office with those hormone therapy, and then to have to go and face that kind of discrimination from the pharmacist, was really devastating for her", said Steve Kilar with ACLU of Arizona.

"My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused", she wrote.

"Embarrassed and distressed, I almost started crying in the middle of the store", she wrote.

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"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".

Hall said she called her doctor when she got home explaining the situation.

On July 19 Hall filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, and she is "publicly asking CVS to take action and apologize" for the way she was treated.

CVS Health apologized for the incident on Friday in a statement to The Hill.

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"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", Mike DeAngelis, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for CVS, said. "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", the statement read.

Based on federal and some state laws, CVS does allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill specific medications if doing so would violate the person's religious convictions, DeAngelis said.

"We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall's original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight, " the company added in its statement.

Hall gave the prescriptions to the pharmacist, but he refused to "fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity".

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Hall said she was humiliated during the encounter, and believed that the pharmacist was trying to out her as a transgender woman. I didn't want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. The pharmacy isn't required to transfer refused prescriptions, but companies may make workplace polices that require referrals.

"I think now that this is on people's radar, they're more willing to talk about it", he said. The woman had been prescribed misoprostol, a drug also used in medication abortion, after learning that her wanted pregnancy had stopped developing. She said she chose the medication instead of undergoing an invasive medical procedure.

We are very proud to have earned a flawless score on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for the past four consecutive years for our policies and practices related to LGBTQ equality.

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