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

22 July, 2018, 03:27 | Author: Regina Silva

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

A transgender woman has spoken out after being denied access to her prescribed hormones by a pharmacist in Arizona. When no one addressed her concerns, she made a decision to file a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday. The law doesn't require the pharmacy to transfer the order, but company policies can vary, according to the Arizona Republic.

Hall said she felt devastated by the rejection.

Her doctor's office tried to intervene, but to no avail, so the physicians sent a new prescription to a local Walgreens where the pharmacist filled it without question, according to Hall.

Hall said she went immediately to a CVS in Fountain Hills where she handed over the three prescriptions from her doctor who she says specializes in hormone therapy.

"He 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", Hall recalls. 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".

The pharmacist wouldn't give the prescriptions back to her, Hall wrote, so she had to ask her doctor to call them in to another pharmacy.

"I almost started crying in the middle of the store", she recalled.

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

The treatment would spur the physical changes in Hall's body that would reflect her identity as a transgender woman, she said.

On Friday, one day after Hall shared her story publicly, CVS announced that the pharmacist who allegedly harassed her is no longer employed with the company.

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Hall wrote she contacted CVS corporate "multiple times", but the company had not "addressed my concerns or offered me an apology".

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

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

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona encouraged Hall to speak out to create change on behalf of transgender people, said Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona spokesman.

'Obviously it's a sensitive matter, and we have to approach it delicately, ' he said. "But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am".

"There isn't a similar statute in Arizona that allows pharmacists to refuse service related to other medications", Kilar said.

Arteaga's doctor had ordered the drugs to terminate a pregnancy that she wanted very much after the fetus was found without a heartbeat.

CVS says it has a history of supporting LGBTQ rights, helping to develop a guide for pharmacy care for gay, lesbian and transgender customers.

Walgreens pharmacists are allowed under a company policy to walk away from filling a prescription if they have a moral objection, the company said in a June statement.

We are very proud to have earned a ideal 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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