Democrats advise Walmart, Costco, Albertsons and Kroger to sell mifepristone

In this 2018 photo, mifepristone and misoprostol pills are provided at the Carafem medical abortion clinic in Skokie, Illinois.

Erin Hooley | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Senate Democrats called walmart, Costco, Albertsons And kroger sell mifepristone in prescription abortion pills and clearly inform customers on how to get it from a pharmacy.

The companies have not yet publicly stated whether they plan to sell mifepristone in their pharmacies. The Food and Drug Administration in January allowed retail pharmacies to sell abortion pills if they were certified by a federal program that controls how the drugs are distributed.

17 senators told Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen that they are disappointed that the companies have not yet publicly stated whether they will sell mifepristone. In letters dated Monday but released Tuesday, they asked CEOs to respond by March 21 about whether they plan to get FDA-certified for dispensing drugs.

Strong Access

“We urge you to pursue policies that ensure the fullest possible access to the full range of essential health services they need, including mifepristone, and communicate clearly to your clients on how they can access this care,” the Senators wrote to the CEOs. The group of deputies was headed by Sep. Patty Murray from Washington and Debbie Stabenow from Michigan.

The abortion pill has become a focal point in a legal battle over access to abortion since the Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn a decision against Rowe. Wade. Major retailers in the US have found themselves at the center of a deep national controversy over abortion as they decide whether to sell mifepristone.

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Twelve states have banned abortion, and several others have tighter restrictions on mifepristone than federal regulations, creating a patchwork legal landscape in which those who support and oppose abortion fight over who wields the power of the FDA or state law.

Used in combination with another drug called misoprostol, mifepristone is the most common way to terminate a pregnancy in the US, accounting for about half of all abortions.

Walgreens under fire

walgreens, CVS And Rite of Help announced in January that they plan to receive FDA certified sell mifepristone in states where it is legal to do so. Republican attorneys general in 21 states warned Walgreens and CVS in early February do not mail mifepristone to your states.

Walgreens came under fire after it told GOP attorneys general it would not sell mifepristone in their states. The pharmacy’s response caused controversy because the company also does not sell drugs. in states like Kansaswhere abortion is protected by the state constitution. In November, a state court blocked a law that required patients to take mifepristone in the same room as a doctor.

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Senators accused Walgreens CEO Rose Brewer of bowing to pressure from the attorney general and accused the company of creating confusion by not selling mifepristone in some states where abortion remains legal.

“While we are well aware of the threatening letters you have received regarding the distribution of mifepristone in some states, the response to this pressure has been unacceptable and appears to have succumbed to these threats – ignoring the urgent need to ensure that patients can receive this essential medical help. wherever possible,” the senators wrote.

The senators also asked CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch and Rite Aid CEO Elizabeth Burr not to follow Walgreens’ lead, urging them to “fully evaluate the laws in every state and ensure that your policies provide the greatest possible legal access to this critical healthcare.”

California terminates the contract

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that the state government would no longer do business with Walgreens because of his stance on mifepristone. The state canceled a $54 million contract renewal for specialty prescription drugs primarily used in the state’s penitentiary system.

Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman said the company is deeply disappointed with Newsom’s decision and plans to sell mifepristone where it is legal, including California.

“Walgreens is facing the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies and no other retail pharmacies have said they will approach this situation differently, so it is unclear where this contract will now move,” Engerman said.