CVS and Walgreens Set to Begin Sales of Abortion Pill Mifepristone This Month

CVS and Walgreens are set to commence the sale of the abortion pill mifepristone this month at certain pharmacy locations in states where it is legally permitted, according to spokespeople for the companies as reported by CNBC on Friday.

Both CVS and Walgreens have obtained certification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dispense the widely used pill at their retail pharmacies, representatives for each company stated separately.

CVS will initiate the filling of prescriptions for the medication in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the upcoming weeks, a spokesperson for the company disclosed. Additionally, they mentioned CVS’s intentions to expand to other states “where allowed by law, on a rolling basis.”

CVS Pharmacy location.
Access to medication abortion broadens as CVS and Walgreens prepare to sell mifepristone. (Credits: CVS Health)

Similarly, Walgreens anticipates the commencement of prescription dispensation for the pill within a week at select pharmacy locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois, according to a spokesperson for the company. Significantly, the chains will not offer the medication via mail, as reported earlier on Friday by The New York Times. Mifepristone constitutes the initial pill utilized in the two-drug medication abortion regimen.

The FDA finds itself in a legal showdown with anti-abortion physicians in an unprecedented challenge to its more than two-decade-old approval of mifepristone. An anti-abortion rights group initiated a lawsuit against the agency in 2022 in an attempt to declare that approval unlawful and entirely remove the pill from the U.S. market. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in that closely monitored case on March 26.

In January, the FDA announced its decision to permit retail pharmacies to offer mifepristone in the U.S. for the first time. As per a regulatory alteration at the agency, pharmacies can apply for certification to distribute the pill through one of the two companies that manufacture it. This certification would enable pharmacies to dispense the medication directly to patients upon receiving a prescription from a certified prescriber.

Walgreens storefront
Breaking barriers: CVS and Walgreens join in offering mifepristone, enhancing reproductive healthcare options.

Before the FDA’s regulatory amendment, only a handful of mail-order pharmacies or specially certified doctors or clinics were authorized to distribute mifepristone.

This regulatory amendment has the potential to broaden abortion access as the Biden administration grapples with how to best safeguard abortion rights. The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling significantly curtailed the right to abortion in the U.S.

The Biden administration has made abortion and contraception access a key focus of the president’s 2024 campaign.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medication abortion is the most prevalent method of terminating a pregnancy in the U.S. This method is FDA-approved for use up to 10 weeks into pregnancy.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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