Walgreens refuses to give trans man his hormone prescription due to ‘religious beliefs’

A split image of a pharmacy counter, with the right image featuring the torso of a pharmacist.

A Californian transgender man claims a pharmacist at a Walgreens chain in Oakland refused to hand over his hormone replacement medicine due to their “religious beliefs”.

In a Reddit post made on Tuesday (20 June), 30-year-old trans Oakland resident Roscoe Rike wrote that he had entered the pharmacy to pick up his prescription when he was asked by an employee what the medication was for.

“I told him I was pretty sure that it wasn’t any of his business,” he said in the post which has since been deleted.

Rike explained that he had been going to the Walgreens pharmacy on Telegraph Avenue for nearly a decade, and had been picking up his hormone prescription for three years, always without issue.

But the pharmacist, who Rike said he had never seen before, allegedly claimed he could not fill the prescription “due to his religious beliefs”.

Rike then said he immediately began recording a video that had also been uploaded to the post, in which he asks the pharmacist: “So you think you know better than my doctor, is that what’s going on?”

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The clip then sees the pharmacist say: “I just need to know the diagnosis”, which Rike responds with: “That’s none of your f**king business.”

The pharmacist then allegedly told Rike, after making “some phone calls”, that he was still not going to give him his prescription.

“At this point, I completely lost my temper and demanded to speak to a manager,” Rike continued. “The pharmacist ignored me and walked away.”

After speaking to one of the employees Rike said was “familiar to me”, a manager was then called in who “apologised profusely” and issued his prescription.

The front of a US Walgreens Pharmacy
The US pharmacy chain told a local news outlet that it tries to find a middle ground between “moral beliefs” and its customers. (Getty)

“The whole experience was extremely distressing and caused me severe emotional pain,” he said. “I have reached out to the transgender law center, and plan on filing a formal complaint with the Walgreens corporate office.

Rike finished by urging any local trans residents to make sure “this person isn’t working” when picking up their hormones, because, Rike said: “He will deny you care.”

PinkNews contacted Walgreens for comment on the alleged incident.

In a statement to the local news station KRON4, a spokesperson said: “Our policies are designed to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and customers while respecting the religious and moral beliefs of our team members.

“In an instance where a team member has a religious or moral conviction that prevents them from meeting a customer’s need, we require the team member to refer the customer to another employee or manager on duty who can complete the transaction. These instances, however, are very rare.”

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