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Walgreens and CVS to start selling mifepristone, an abortion pill, in some states

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

Walgreens said it has completed the Food and Drug Administration certification process to sell mifepristone and plans to do so within a week. “We are beginning a rollout phase at select sites to ensure quality, safety and privacy for our patients, providers and team members,” the company said. said.

CVS said it was “working with manufacturers and suppliers to secure the drug and is not yet distributing it in any of our pharmacies,” adding that it would begin filling prescriptions for the drug in Massachusetts and Rhode Island “in the coming weeks and would expand its activity.” to additional states, where permitted by law, on an ongoing basis.

The decision 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 Supreme Court of the United States to decide.

The news was first reported by The New York Times.

“With large retail pharmacy chains newly certified to provide medical abortion, many women will soon have the opportunity to pick up their prescription at a certified local pharmacy, just as they would for any other medication,” President Biden said in a press release. “I encourage all pharmacies who wish to pursue this option to seek certification. »

The FDA has changed its risk protocol for mifepristone in January 2023, allowing pharmacies to be certified to dispense the drug to patients with a prescription provided they comply with the agency’s requirements.

Walgreens has faced pressure from both sides of the abortion debate. Last year, the company infuriated abortion rights supporters by declaring that it would not distribute abortion pills in 21 states, including four states where abortion is still legal. He also faced protests from anti-abortion demonstrators who objected to Walgreens selling abortion pills.

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

A decision by the court of appeal would make access to medication more difficult. The Biden administration and the manufacturer of mifepristone are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. The justices agreed to hear the case in December and scheduled a hearing for oral arguments later this month.

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

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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