Updated Jan 5, 2023 - Health

Walgreens, CVS plan to start offering abortion pills, pharmacies confirm

Picture of a mifepristone bottle

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

Walgreens and CVS, two of the largest U.S. pharmacy chains, plan to start offering abortion pills, following the Food and Drug Administration's Tuesday announcement that it will allow retail pharmacies to offer the drug, the companies told Axios.

The big picture: Under the FDA's regulatory change, pharmacies can apply to become certified to dispense mifepristone, which is used in first-trimester abortions.

  • Pharmacies still need to comply with the laws of the state they are located in, some of which restrict the ability to provide abortion pills.
  • Certified pharmacies can offer mifepristone only after receiving a prescription from a certified health provider.

What they're saying: A Walgreens spokesperson said that it is taking the steps "to become a certified pharmacy," becoming the first national pharmacy chain to make such an announcement.

  • "We are working through the registration, necessary training of our pharmacists, as well as evaluating our pharmacy network in terms of where we normally dispense products that have extra FDA requirements and will dispense these consistent with federal and state laws," the Walgreens spokesperson added.
  • Shortly after Walgreen's statement went public, a CVS spokesperson told Axios that the company plans "to seek certification to dispense mifepristone where legally permissible."

What we're watching: Some independent pharmacies are interested in becoming mifepristone certified, said Ronna Hauser, senior vice president of policy and pharmacy affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association, which has 19,400 members.

  • "It will be a personal business decision for our members to participate based on local considerations where their pharmacy is located," Hauser added.

Go deeper: FDA adds a major new twist to the abortion pill fight

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comments from a CVS spokesperson and further context.

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