CVS apologizes to transgender woman denied medication
A CVS pharmacist who refused to provide a transgender woman her hormone prescription is no longer employed by the pharmacy chain, the company said Friday.
Hilde Hall said in a statement to the ACLU that she was excited to fill her first hormone therapy prescription after leaving her doctor's office in April, as it would allow her "to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I've always known myself to be."
But Hall hit a roadblock when she visited the CVS in Fountain HIlls, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, and gave the attending pharmacist the three prescriptions prescribed by her doctor, according to her statement. She said that he "refused to fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity" and "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," she said in the statement. "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."
After departing the store, Hall called the CVS customer service line twice to no avail, she said. Feeling as though she had no other options, she then filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday, according to the ACLU.
CVS responded to the situation in a statement on Friday, stating that the pharmacist was no longer employed by the chain because he had violated its company policies. "His actions did not reflect the company's values or commitment to "inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care," CVS said in its statement.
"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. "We pride ourselves in addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and we are taking steps to prevent this isolated occurrence from happening again."
According to the ACLU, Hall said Friday that she had spoken with a CVS representative, who also apologized on behalf of the company, and appreciated the company for taking "her experience seriously."
CVS received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for the past four consecutive years. The index ranks companies based on their policies regarding LGBTQ equality.