Sunday, 19 August, 2018


CVS fires pharmacist who wouldn't fill transgender customer's prescription

People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City New York on Nov. 30 2017. Shannon Stapleton  Reuters file People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City New York on Nov. 30 2017. Shannon Stapleton Reuters file
Patty Aguilar | 23 July, 2018, 23:10

A CVS pharmacist in Arizona was sacked after he refused to fill the hormone prescription of a transgender woman.

Hilde Hall said she filed an administrative complaint Thursday with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy because she was discriminated against for being transgender, according to a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

She claims the pharmacist loudly questioned her in front of other customers and rejected her and her doctor's requests to transfer the prescription to another location.

The woman had been told by a doctor that her baby had stopped developing, and her options were surgery or the medication.

Both pharmacists' actions were justified under Arizona law. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why.

Walgreens said it had apologized to Arteaga over how the situation was handled.

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

He said the pharmacist violated company policies and "does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care".

Walgreens policy requires pharmacists who morally object to filling a prescription to refer it to another pharmacist or manager "in a timely manner", which Arteaga's pharmacist did not do.

CVS would not clarify whether the pharmacist was sacked, telling HuffPost that it does not comment on employment decisions.

More: Was a Peoria Walgreens pharmacist legally justified in denying miscarriage medication?

CVS declined to share the exact wording of the 12-page policy. The Board did not confirm whether the incident was under investigation.

It marked her first round of hormone therapy. "I left the store feeling mortified".

"I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I've always known myself to be", Hall wrote.

"He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal", Hall said in the complaint.

"I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers", Hall wrote. But added: "I don't want to think about what might happen if this pharmacist mistreats a transgender person who does not have a good social support system".

Meanwhile, those in the LGBTQ community say it's a step in the right direction, but sadly the pharmacist's actions were not surprising.

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 ended up getting her prescription at another pharmacy. Hall made a decision to transfer all her prescriptions to Walgreens.

She said she has contacted CVS's corporate complaint line multiple times but was ignored.

"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.

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