House Democrats call on major pharmacy chains to dispense mifepristone

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House Democrats are calling on five major pharmacy chains to commit to dispensing mifepristone in states where it remains legal, following the recent Supreme Court decision that preserved the current accessibility of the drug. 

In letters sent to Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Costco and Health Mart, a group of more than 50 House Democrats — led by Reps. Judy Chu (Calif.) and Dan Goldman (N.Y.) — pressed the pharmacies to become certified dispensers of mifepristone.   

“We are disappointed that you have not publicly pursued certification for the past year,” the Democrats wrote. “We strongly urge you to consider policies that facilitate access to essential and time-sensitive reproductive health care services, including medication abortion, which are clear to your consumers and to your pharmacy employees.” 

In 2023, the Food and Drug Administration established a process for retail pharmacies to become certified to dispense mifepristone to patients with valid prescriptions, the first in the two-drug process used in medication abortions.  

Goldman and Chu said they reached out to the same five pharmacies in June 2023 about offering mifepristone, but the companies did not say whether they planned to get certified. 

In the wake of last month’s Supreme Court decision that preserved current access to mifepristone, the Democrats urged the pharmacies to reconsider.  

“This lack of action to certify is misaligned with your publicly stated values in support of equal access to health care and in support of gender equality,” they wrote. “In light of escalating attacks on bodily autonomy and on people’s freedom to make their own health care decisions, we believe that your companies have a social responsibility to consumers and communities to address this issue as soon as possible.” 

The lawmakers are seeking responses from the pharmacies by July 12. 

Walgreens and CVS are the only two major retail pharmacies that have publicly sought the certification, and the companies began selling mifepristone in March in states where it remains legal to do so.  

Walgreens in particular took heat from both sides of the abortion argument spectrum. The company angered Democrats and abortion rights advocates when it declined to dispense abortion pills in 21 states, including four states where abortion was still legal. 

The company also faced an onslaught of attacks and threats from Republican attorneys general as well as anti-abortion groups for selling mifepristone in the first place.  

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