Costco pharmacist allegedly refuses to sell syringes to trans man for HRT

Author: Daniel Villarreal

A transgender Kansas City man has accused a pharmacist at the retail store Costco of refusing to sell him insulin syringes without a prescription after the trans man revealed that he planned to use them to inject testosterone. Costco usually sells these syringes without a prescription.

The man, identified by The Kansas City Star as “Dave,” visited the Linwood Boulevard Costco to pick up the syringes. Costco sells them in bulk packs of 100 at a price cheaper than other retailers.

When the Costco pharmacist asked Dave for his preferred size and gauge, Dave explained to the pharmacist uses insulin syringes to inject his testosterone because the needle gauges are smaller and hurt less.

“They got weird about it,” Dave said. “The pharmacist, I guess, overheard and she came out and she’s like, ‘This won’t work for testosterone.’ She’s like, ‘Well, we won’t sell it to you unless you have your doctor call it in,”

Dave called his doctor’s office, but it was closed at the time. He didn’t feel like arguing with the pharmacist about how he had purchased the same syringes from Costco for years without needing a prescription, so he left.

The Missouri Pharmacy Board reportedly told Dave that syringes only require a prescription if they contain label stating “for Rx only.” The syringes Dave wanted had no such label. However, the board also said that pharmacists have “discretion over what they choose to dispense” just as long as they don’t violate federal anti-discrimination laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court and the administration of President Joe Biden have both interpreted federal anti-discrimination law to declare anti-trans discrimination as a form of gender- or sex-based discrimination.

The trans man’s claim comes barely a year after the city’s Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department investigated CostCo for allegedly refusing to give five trans and nonbinary individuals their prescribed orders of testosterone. Gender identity-based discrimination is illegal in Kansas City.

While the city claimed that the case was “settled to the satisfaction of all parties,” one of the trans men said he never heard back from the city about his case after sharing his story with the aforementioned civil rights department.

Justice Horn, chair of the city’s LGBTQ Commission, has said he plans on notifying the Kansas City Council about these alleged instances of discrimination. The civil rights department never informed Horn’s commission about the outcomes of its investigation and settlement.

“It’s important that we are ensuring that our non-discrimination ordinance, that turns 30 this year, is not only being addressed but (also) enforced,” Horn told the aforementioned publication. “We unequivocally stand with those harmed and impacted.”

The city has denied the publication access to records about its investigation, saying they are confidential.

Recently, a Walgreens pharmacy manager in Bristol, Virginia allegedly refused to fill a hormone replacement therapy prescription for an intersex child because of the manager’s personal beliefs.  A similar incident occurred Oakland, California in June when a pharmacist cited their religious beliefs while refusing to fill the prescription. Last year, a woman reported that an employee at a Wisconsin Walgreens refused to sell her condoms, citing her “faith.”

Similar incidents have also occurred in other pharmacies. Last June, a transgender woman in Florida said that her local Publix pharmacy refused to refill her prescription for gender-affirming medication while they evaluated the implications of a new state law banning gender-affirming healthcare for minors. In 2018, a pharmacist at an Arizona CVS refused to fill a transgender woman’s HRT prescription.

Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Daniel Villarreal

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