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California will not start a $54 million agreement with Walgreens over the abortion drug procedure

March 10, 2023: California will not restart a $54 million contract with Walgreens regarding the drugstore chain’s decision not to trade the abortion pill mifepristone in some states due to legal rules.

“California will not tolerate as corporations cave to extremists and slash off key access to reproductive care and freedom,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday.

“California is on its way to being the fourth significant economy in the world, and we will leverage our business power to defend the right to choose,” he further stated.

On Monday, Newsom said that the state was “done” doing business with Walgreens. California used the contract to buy speciality prescription drugs for the prison system. The state is reviewing all its business contracts with Walgreens.

In a statement Thursday, Walgreens said it is “deeply disappointed” by California’s decision, which the firm blamed on “false and misleading information.”

“Walgreens encounters the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies, and no other retail pharmacies have stated that they would approach this differently, so it’s not clear where this contract would now be moved,” said Fraser Engerman, a company state.

“Our position has been that, once the FDA licenses us, Walgreens is planning to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction if it is legally allowed, including the state of California,” Engerman said.

Republican attorneys in 21 states warned Walgreens in February that selling or distributing the abortion pill in their forms would violate local laws.

The drugstore chain stated that it would not sell or mail mifepristone in their states.

In January, the Food and Drug Administration allowed retail pharmacies like Walgreens to trade mifepristone so long as they have been certified under an agency program that monitors how the pill is used and distributed. Walgreens and CVS have stated they plan to become certified under that program.

At least 12 states have prohibited abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. A few other states have tighter restrictions on mifepristone than the FDA does.

Walgreens is not selling abortion tablets in states like Alaska, Kansas and Montana, where abortion is taken care of as a right under the states’ constitutions.

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