A CVS pharmacist was fired for refusing to fill a hormone prescription for a biological male living as a transgender woman.
CVS Health, the parent company of the chain of CVS Pharmacy stores, confirmed Friday the pharmacist had been fired after a customer complained that the pharmacist refused to fill her hormone therapy prescription.
Hilde Hall penned a blog post on the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) website on Thursday stating that he was “humiliated” when a pharmacist at a CVS Pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona, refused to fill a hormone therapy prescription in April.
“He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal,” Hall wrote. “He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions.”
Hall added that the experience left him feeling “embarrassed and stressed” to the point where he almost broke down crying in the store.
“When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled,” Hall wrote. “I left the store feeling mortified.”
Hall said he was eventually able to fill the prescription at a Walgreens pharmacy location, but claimed CVS’s corporate complaint line ignored his complaints multiple times.
In addition to the blog post, Hall also filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy on Thursday to urge them to take action against CVS.
CVS Health released a Friday statement apologizing for the pharmacist’s conduct and clarifying that the pharmacist involved “is no longer employed by CVS” for violating company policies.
“CVS Health extends its sincere apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring. The conduct of the pharmacist, who is no longer employed by CVS, violated company policies and does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care,” the statement read.
Even though CVS claims the pharmacist violated company policy, Arizona law states that pharmacists are allowed to refuse to fill a prescription for moral or religious reasons so long as they inform their workplace about their “religious convictions” ahead of time, the Arizona Republic reported.
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.
But not all pharmacies in Arizona have policies like CVS. In a similar incident in June, a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for a woman’s miscarriage drug on moral grounds.
Unlike CVS, Walgreens stood behind its pharmacist, citing a company policy which allows pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription on moral grounds.