A transgender woman in Arizona has hit national pharmacy chain CVS with a complaint after she says her pharmacist refused to fill her hormone prescription this spring.
Hilde Hall says her local Fountain Hills CVS humiliated her in front of other customers on a day that should have been filled with joy.
In a blog post on the ACLU website, Hall wrote that she left her doctor’s office one day in April with her hormone prescription, excited to become the woman she always knew she was.
“That’s when my day took a turn,” she wrote. “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.”
According to Hall, the pharmacist interrogated her about why she needed the hormones and then refused to fill the prescription in front of other staff and customers.
“Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store,” she said. “I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor.”
Hall asked for her script back so she could get the prescription filled elsewhere, but the pharmacist refused, she said. When her doctor’s office called the store on her behalf, the pharmacist still declined to fill the order.
“My doctor ended up having to call the prescription into the local Walgreens, where the medication was filled without question,” Hall said. “I transferred all of my prescriptions there so that I never again have to see the pharmacist who discriminated against me.”
According to Hall, she tried repeatedly to reach CVS’ corporate complaint line, but no one apologized or addressed the incident.
On Thursday, she filed a complaint against the company with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. Hall says she wants CVS to apologize.
CVS did not respond to a request to comment. But in a statement to CNN, the company said the pharmacist violated company policy and is no longer an employee.
“We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall’s original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight, ” it read. “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’s incident comes as the Trump Administration is moving to roll back protections for transgender people in healthcare. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services began moving to implement protections for healthcare workers seeking to deny service to transgender people based on moral and religious objections. The sweeping changes, if implemented, could leave the broader LGBTQ community vulnerable to healthcare discrimination from coast to coast.
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said given the current political climate, it’s critical that CVS ensures its customers are not harassed in its pharmacies.
“No one should have to experience what Hilde did, and yet it is all too common for transgender people and also people seeking birth control around the country,” Block said in a statement.
Image via ACLU