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    HomeBusinessWalgreens, CVS to begin selling abortion pill in some states

    Walgreens, CVS to begin selling abortion pill in some states

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

    Walgreens said it has completed the Food and Drug Administration’s certification process to sell mifepristone and expects to do so within a week. “We are beginning a phase 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 medication and are not yet dispensing it in any of our pharmacies,” adding that it will begin filling prescriptions for the drug in Massachusetts and Rhode Island “in the weeks ahead and will expand to additional states, where allowed by law, on a rolling basis.”

    The move by two of the nation’s 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 before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.

    The news was first reported by the New York Times.

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

    The FDA modified its risk protocol for mifepristone in January 2023, allowing pharmacies to become certified to dispense the drug to patients with a prescription as long as they comply with the agency’s requirements.

    Walgreens has come under pressure from both sides of the abortion debate. The company infuriated supporters of abortion rights last year by saying it would not dispense abortion pills in 21 states, including four states where abortion is still legal. It also faced protests from antiabortion demonstrators objecting to Walgreens selling abortion pills at all.

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

    An appellate court ruling would make it more difficult to access the medication. The Biden administration, and mifepristone’s manufacturer, are asking the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling. The justices agreed to hear the case in December and have set a hearing for oral arguments later this month.

    Walgreens said Friday that it will begin dispensing mifepristone in 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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