In a blog post featured on the ACLU website, Arizona resident Hilde Hall said she was “elated” to start her first round of hormone treatment after visiting her doctor’s office in late April; however, when she attempted to collect her prescription at the chain drug store, she was declined without any explanation:
I went straight from my doctor to the CVS in my town, Fountain Hills, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. I handed over the three prescriptions that my doctor, who specializes in hormone therapy, had just given me.
That’s when my day took a turn. 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.
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 said she was humiliated during the encounter, and believed that the pharmacist was trying to out her as a transgender woman. Furthermore, when she asked for her prescription note back, the pharmacist allegedly refused, which prevented her from immediately getting the hormones at another pharmacy.
When I got home, I called my doctor’s office to explain what happened. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why. My doctor ended up having to call the prescription into the local Walgreens, where the medication was filled without question. I transferred all of my prescriptions there so that I never again have to see the pharmacist who discriminated against me.
Hall said she reached out to the CVS corporate office multiple times, but no one ever addressed her concerns. So, she decided to file a complaint to the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday, insisting something had to be done.
Shortly after she filed her complaint, CVS issued an apology and announced the pharmacist had been terminated:
According to AZCentral, Arizona is one of six states that “allows pharmacies and pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription on religious or moral grounds”; however, the pharmacists are required to inform their employer about any religious convictions in advance.