My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription

(Update 7/20/2018: Hilde appreciates that CVS took her experience seriously. She spoke with a CVS representative who offered a sincere apology on behalf the company and said that the pharmacist who mistreated Hilde acted outside of the company’s guidelines. Hilde hopes that CVS will make its nondiscrimination policies public, so that transgender and non-binary customers have some assurance the corporation will take appropriate action if similar discrimination occurs in the future.)

On a recent day in April, I left my doctor’s office elated. I was carrying my first prescriptions for hormone therapy. I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be.

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.

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 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. I left the store feeling mortified.

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.

I have contacted CVS’ corporate complaint line multiple times, but no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology.

Tell CVS: Transgender Customers Need Their Prescriptions, Too

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.

Today, I filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and am publicly asking CVS to take action and apologize for the way I was treated. CVS has received perfect marks for the past four years in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which is a valuable tool for assessing corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. But something is still not right. Measures should be in place to ensure no other customer is humiliated like I was.

Through training and written policies, the company needs to make it clear to their employees — especially their pharmacists — that transgender customers deserve respect. No healthcare worker should rely on personal beliefs to reject decisions made by doctors and their transgender patients about medically necessary care.

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I agree 200 percent


CVS made good on the claim and did fire the individual who appointed himself judge of this person. No reason to boycott CVS. Lots of reasons to go toilet paper this guys house though.


Good. This is actually super common at CVS. As a trans person I’ve also had issues getting my hormones filled. I never had issues with any other medication I’m on. Including psych meds. CVS claims to be top of the list for LGBT patients. But they constantly make our lives hell. I’ve had many other trans folks tell me about terrible experiences with CVS as well.

William E Fassett

Debbie - as noted in the update, Hilde recognized that CVS apologized, and contemporary news reports indicate that the pharmacist involved is no longer employed at CVS. As Hilde noted, CVS gets consistently good marks on their corporate responsibility, and with so many pharmacies and pharmacists, it is an ongoing challenge for any of the chains to completely control the actions of individual professionals. The Arizona law that allows "conscientious objection" to filling a person's prescriptions is a good target for your wrath. By the way, according to Hilde's report, the pharmacist violated the Arizona law because it requires that he explain the basis for his refusal in writing.

Denise R Banister

I'm sorry you were treated this way.
Thank you for standing up for fair and just treatment and patient rights.

Dr. Timothy Leary

Be a man about it, quit gripping, and take your medicine.


Fuck you ass hole !!


Ur such an ass !!


Weird just weird .....your responses always are


Thing is, she's not a man, you prick.


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