Walgreens, CVS will start selling abortion pills in some states

Walgreens and CVS said Friday they are preparing to distribute the abortion pill mifepristone in states where it is legally allowed, starting next week.

Walgreens said it has completed the Food and Drug Administration certification process to sell mifepristone and expects to do so within a week. “We are introducing a phased rollout in select locations to ensure quality, safety and privacy for our patients, providers and team members,” the company said.

CVS said it is “working with manufacturers and suppliers to secure the drug and is not yet distributing it in any of our pharmacies,” adding that it will begin testing the drug in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the coming weeks. Will start filling prescriptions for the drug in and expand it. In additional states, where permitted by law, on a rolling basis.

The move by the nation's two largest pharmacy networks promises to expand the availability of the drug, which is the subject of litigation over whether the Food and Drug Administration properly approved it and is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Is before the court.

This news was first published by the New York Times.

President Biden said in a statement, “With major retail pharmacy chains newly certified to dispense abortion medications, many women will soon have the option to pick up their prescription at a local, certified pharmacy – just like they would any other.” Others take it for medicine.” “I encourage all pharmacies that wish to pursue this option to seek certification.”

The FDA revised its exposure protocol for mifepristone in January 2023, allowing pharmacies to be certified to dispense the drug to patients with prescriptions, as long as they comply with the agency's requirements.

Walgreens has come under pressure from both sides of the abortion debate. The company enraged abortion rights advocates last year by saying it would not offer abortion pills in 21 states, including four where abortion is still legal. It also faced opposition from anti-abortion protesters who objected to Walgreens selling abortion pills.

Mifepristone works by blocking a hormone that is essential for pregnancy to develop, and in more than half of the abortions in the country it is used in combination with another drug. It was initially approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago, which later loosened the rules for obtaining it.

The appellate court's decision will make access to the drug more difficult. The Biden administration and the makers of mifepristone are asking the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. The judge agreed to hear the case in December and has scheduled a hearing for oral arguments later this month.

Walgreens said Friday it will begin distributing mifepristone at certain locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois. The company said it would not identify which pharmacies would carry the drug “in the interest of pharmacist and patient safety.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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