In a recent essay for the ACLU, Hilde Hall, a trans woman living in Arizona, details how she was discriminated against by a pharmacist when she went to get her prescriptions filled at her local CVS. Hall wrote, "I left the store feeling mortified".
Additionally, Hall also wrote that she is one of the lucky ones, explaining that, unlike some other transgender individuals, she has a great support system and left the encounter physically unscathed.in terms of her support system and how that encounter might have played out for someone else.
Hall had received three prescriptions April 24 from her doctor, who specializes in hormone therapy, she said.
CVS says it has a history of supporting LGBTQ rights, helping to develop a guide for pharmacy care for gay, lesbian and transgender customers. "I just froze and worked on holding back the tears".
In her post, Hall says the pharmacist would not give her back the prescription note, so she was unable to take it to another pharmacy to be filled.
When her doctor's office called the store on her behalf, the pharmacist still declined to fill the order. So, she chose to file a complaint to the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday, insisting something had to be done.
CVS Health apologized for the incident on Friday in a statement to The Hill.
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"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. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why.
Hall gave the prescriptions to the pharmacist, but he refused to "fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity". He said the company learned of Hall's post Thursday and spoke with her Friday to apologize directly. "But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am".
Kilar said the ACLU's objective in helping publicize Hall's experience was ensuring that CVS makes clear to customers that it will not tolerate discrimination from employees on the basis of gender identity.
"CVS Health extends its honest apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring", said the statement.
All CVS pharmacy staff are made aware of the policies through internal communications and training, according to DeAngelis.
DeAngelis said the pharmacist was no longer employed at CVS, but he would not clarify whether the pharmacist was sacked after the company learned about Hall's encounter.
Arizona and five other states-including Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota-have laws on the books protecting pharmacists who refuse to fill certain prescriptions based on their religious beliefs.
Kam Gandhi, executive director at the board, said that the agency hasn't talked to Arteaga or the pharmacist yet, but will aim to do a full investigation before the board's next meeting in August, Gandhi said.
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