CVS fires employee who refused to fill prescription for trans woman

CVS has fired an Arizona pharmacist who refused to fill a hormone medication prescription for a transgender woman. The drug store chain has also apologized for the incident.

In a blog post for the ACLU this Thursday, Hilde Hall described how the pharmacist humiliated her in front of other customers and ultimately refused to transfer her prescription to another location.

[The pharmacist] 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.

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said that the pharmacist violated company policy by refusing to fill the prescription.

Arizona state law says CVS must recognize any religious belief that would prevent a pharmacist from filling a prescription, but pharmacists are then required to make other arrangements to ensure a patient’s needs are met.

The incident comes on the heels of an Arizona Walgreens denying a woman medication to induce a miscarriage. After hearing from her doctor that her fetus’ development had stopped and she would ultimately have a miscarriage, Nicole Mone was given a prescription for misoprostol so she wouldn’t have to undergo surgery. When she went to Walgreens to pick it up, the pharmacist refused to give it to her.

“I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7 year old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs,” Mone wrote in a Facebook post describing the incident. “I get it we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over.”

In Hall’s case, her doctor wrote her a new prescription and sent it to a nearby Walgreens.

Featured image via ACLU

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.