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CVS pharmacist is fired for not filling trans’ hormone prescription, but the state says he can legally refuse

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An Arizona man who identifies as a so-called transgender woman drew attention to CVS this week after a local pharmacist refused to fill his hormone prescription.

In a blog post for the American Civil Liberties Union posted Thursday, transgender woman Hilde Hall’s excitement at receiving his first hormone therapy prescription from his doctor three months ago quickly evaporated when he claims the pharmacist at a local CVS not only refused to fill his prescription but also harangued him about it as well.

“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.”

“Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.”

When Hall then asked for his prescription back, the pharmacist refused, forcing him to leave the store with nothing, Hall said. He tried contacting CVS’ complaint line, but “no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology,” he wrote.

With the help of the ACLU, Hall was later able to file a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and also draw CVS’ attention to what had transpired via his blog post.

Less than 24 hours after he published his blog post, in fact, CVS published an official statement announcing the termination of the pharmacist:

It remains unclear whether this move was legal. The Arizona Republic notes that “Arizona is one of six states that allows pharmacies and pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription on religious or moral grounds.”

When asked about the pharmacist’s termination, a spokesman said that he had violated the company’s policy.

“DeAngelis did not directly comment on why the pharmacist was fired as the person was not in violation of state law,” the Republic pointed out.

The response to this fiasco has been divided. Some feel that the pharmacist’s rights were violated, while others argue that the pharmacist should not have been working at CVS to begin with if he wasn’t willing to perform the duties of his job.

Look:

The pharmacist’s side of the story was not reported.

Although it’s legal in Arizona, the act of refusing to fill the prescription violates protections found in the Affordable Care Act, ACLU’s Steve Kilar said.

Vivek Saxena

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