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Revolutionizing Reproductive Rights: CVS and Walgreens Set to Shock the Nation with Game-Changing Abortion Pill Rollout

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CVS and Walgreens, major pharmacy chains, are set to offer mifepristone, commonly known as the abortion pill, in the upcoming weeks. The companies, having recently obtained certification for dispensing the pill, are responding to a regulatory shift allowing traditional pharmacies to provide it with a prescription.

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Revolutionizing Reproductive Rights: CVS and Walgreens Set to Shock the Nation with Game-Changing Abortion Pill Rollout
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Stating their commitment to adhere to state laws, the pharmacies clarified that mifepristone would only be available in states permitting legal access to abortion within the first 10 weeks. The rollout will commence in select states, with both CVS and Walgreens affirming that they will not offer mifepristone through mail order, distinguishing their approach from other mail-order pharmacies and telehealth platforms already providing the drug.

A CVS spokeswoman specified that their Massachusetts and Rhode Island stores plan to fill mifepristone prescriptions by the end of March. In states where legal, CVS aims to make the pill available across all its pharmacies within the next 45 days.

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Meanwhile, Walgreens Boots Alliance expects to begin dispensing mifepristone in certain locations within a week, starting in five states: New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois. The company intends to expand availability gradually, eventually covering all its locations in states where it is permitted, without providing a specific timeline for the complete rollout.

President Biden, a Democrat emphasizing abortion rights, hailed the development as a significant milestone, underscoring the FDA’s approval of mifepristone’s safety and efficacy over the past two decades.

Last year, Walgreens became the first pharmacy chain to express its intention to pursue certification for dispensing the abortion pill, followed shortly by CVS. The clarification from Walgreens that it would not dispense the pill where it is illegal came in response to warnings from Republican state attorneys general about potential legal consequences.

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Mifepristone, forming part of a two-drug regimen for ending pregnancies within 10 weeks, is utilized in more than half of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. CVS will stock generic mifepristone from GenBioPro, while Walgreens will offer the brand-name Mifeprex from Danco.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA temporarily allowed mail-ordering pharmacies to distribute mifepristone. Advocates for abortion rights have pushed for broader accessibility through physical pharmacies. Following the regulatory change last year, pharmacies needed certification from drugmakers to dispense the pill in physical locations.

Despite this positive development, the abortion pill remains a subject of ongoing legal battles, with the Supreme Court scheduled to address whether the FDA appropriately eased restrictions around the pill later this month. The court’s decision could potentially reinstate original safeguards, leading to a halt in pharmacy dispensing. Kirsten Moore, founder of the Expanding Medication Abortion Access Project, welcomed CVS and Walgreens’ announcement, asserting that medication abortion should be treated like any other FDA-approved medication.

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