According to CNN, Hide Hall was looking forward to her trip to CVS pharmacy. She was about to start her hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is what medically helps transgender people physically transition into the gender they know is correct for them.
While not a necessity for transition, for many in the trans community, beginning HRT is generally viewed as akin to a birthday. It is a personal celebration for many, who say it is a day they always remember.
The ACLU spoke to Hall, and posted her interview on their website.
“I left my doctor’s office elated. I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be.”
However, according to AZ Central, after leaving her doctor with the prescription for her HRT medications, Hall encountered a Phoenix CVS pharmacist who not only refused to fill her prescription but humiliated her in the process.
Industry standards and HIPPA requirements indicate that pharmacists should act with discretion when discussing medication with the people who are filling a prescription. However, the pharmacist Hide encountered, whose name has been withheld, began loudly asking why she needed the medication listed on her prescription slip. Hall claims that he continued to badger her for an answer in front of customers and other CVS employees.
“He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions… I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers.”
According to CNN, Hill left the CVS, and called the CVS customer service line to lodge a complaint over her treatment by the pharmacist who refused to fill her prescription and kept her documentation, forcing ehr to go back to her doctor for a new prescription. When no one addressed her needs, she called again and again but received no response.
With no other alternative, Hide filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. CVS, a company with a 100 percent score from Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, then responded to her swiftly and took definitive action against the offending pharmacist.
CVS fired the pharmacist for violating company policy, and released a statement of apology.
“We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall’s original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight. We pride ourselves in addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and we are taking steps to prevent this isolated occurrence from happening again.”
Joshua Black of the ACLU told CNN that the actions taken by CVS are important now that President Donald Trump has given off signals that he wants to roll-back healthcare provisions that would hit minority groups, like the transgender community, particularly hard. Upon receipt of the apology from CVS, Hill issued a statement of her own.
“My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused, but many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am. 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 doctor reissued Hill’s prescription, which Walgreen’s later filled with no questions asked.