CVS and Walgreens to begin selling abortion pill

BySasha Pezenik ABCNews logo
Saturday, March 2, 2024

Two major pharmacy chains will begin dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone within the month in some states -- potentially making it easier for some patients to access the drug.

Both Walgreens and CVS have now received certification to dispense mifepristone, the companies confirmed to ABC News.

Both pharmacies plan to start providing the pill in a select number of states first, and gradually expand to others where it's legal.

Walgreens expects to begin dispensing the drug "within a week," the company told ABC News. It will start providing the pill in a small number of its pharmacies in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois.

As far as potential expansion, Walgreens is keeping an eye on Kansas, Montana and Wyoming.

The company says it will not be dispensing in states where the laws are unclear, and where a legal gray area could put their pharmacists and staff members at greater risk.

Walgreens was certified by Danco Labs, the brand name manufacturer. The chain also intends to seek certification from the generic manufacturer GenBioPro in the future.

CVS says it plans to begin dispensing "in the weeks ahead" in states where it's legal and is "working with manufacturers and suppliers to secure the medication and are not yet dispensing it in any of our pharmacies."

The chain will begin filling prescriptions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and will "expand to additional states, where allowed by law, on a rolling basis."

The announcements by the two pharmacy chains come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new rules in January 2023 allowing the sale of mifepristone by retail pharmacies. Walgreens began the process to become a certified pharmacy to give out the drug following the ruling.

Those rules are now part of an upcoming case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which an anti-abortion rights group is arguing the FDA went too far and that the medication is dangerous. The FDA and mainstream medical groups say there is no evidence that the medication is dangerous.

In a statement on Friday, President Joe Biden called the move an "important milestone" in ensuring access to the drug.

"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. I encourage all pharmacies that want to pursue this option to seek certification," Biden said in the statement.

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