New York governor, attorney general press pharmacy chains on abortion drug policy

Gov. Tish James and Kathy Hochul, the state attorney general, are pressing three of America’s largest pharmacies to provide abortion medication in New York and throughout the United States. This comes after Walgreens stated it would no longer offer the drugs in states where Republican Attorney Generals have threatened legal action.

Hochul and James wrote Thursday asking the CEOs at Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS to confirm that they will sell the abortion drug mifepristone in their New York pharmacies. They also asked them to send a copy to all patients who have a prescription from a doctor.

Hochul and James wrote that even though access to the medication may be under threat elsewhere because of political reasons, they remind you that New York’s laws are simple. “Abortion is legal, protected as a fundamental rights under state law, there are no legal obstacles to dispensing Mifepristone in New York pharmacies.”

Walgreens, the country’s second-largest pharmacy chain, and owner of Duane Reade in New York, confirmed last week that they would not be able to dispense abortion pills by mail or at bricks-and-mortar locations. This is in states where they are legal.

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After nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general threatened legal action if the company began distributing the drugs that have quickly become the most popular method to end a pregnancy in America, the company announced its decision.

Hochul and James wrote to the pharmacy executives, “We urge you to not allow these tactics to intimidate and to commit to making critical medication as widely available as possible, based upon a fair and impartial interpretation of state law and federal law.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Governor, announced Wednesday that the state will not renew its $54 million contract to Walgreens as a result of the company’s decision. The contract under which Walgreens supplies medications to California prisoners was due to be renewed on May 1.

According to records reviewed by the state comptroller’s offices, New York does not appear have any active contracts for Walgreens.

After the release of new data about the drug’s safety and effectiveness, the FDA announced that retail pharmacies would be allowed to sell the abortion pill mifepristone. Patients had to obtain the medication from their doctor before then.

The new policy requires that pharmacies obtain certification in order to dispense the medication. Walgreens stated that it is currently working to become certified in certain states. The company did not name the states but said it is still not distributing the pills.