Walgreens has lost a large contract with the state of California after indicating it would deny legal sales of abortion pills in red states.
The issue is over sales of the drug Mifepristone, which when combined with another pill can safely end pregnancies of less than ten weeks. It has been approved and legal for sale for 23 years. But in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last year, over a dozen states have passed laws restricting the use (not sale) of abortion pills.
Attorneys general in 20 Republican-led states apparently warned Walgreens and other large pharmacy chains that they could face legal consequences for selling abortion pills in their states. Walgreens has confirmed that it responded to each attorney general that they would cease dispensing the drug in their states, not only the states with such laws.
California governor Gavin Newsom announced on Twittter that California would cease to do business with Walgreens “or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”
Walgreens’ contract with the state is not a large part of their business. The contract covers specialty pharmaceuticals for California’s prison health care system and is worth approximately $54 million while Walgreens reported over $132 billion in sales last year.
Walgreens is “deeply disappointed by the decision by the state of California not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information,” according to representative Fraser Engerman.
The ‘false and misleading information,’ he goes on to explain, is that Walgreens is doing anything unusual. Engerman claims that no retail pharmacy in the country is doing anything different. But he also claims that Mifepristone isn’t yet approved by the FDA, when it has been for over two decades.
“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a news release. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”
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