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California cancels $54 million Walgreens deal over abortion drug war

Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that California will cancel its $54 million contract with Walgreens as punishment for a pharmacy’s decision not to distribute abortion pills in a state that the attorney general warned was illegal.

Newsom posted on social media on Monday: California ‘does not do business with Walgreens’ — or companies that give in to extremism and risk the lives of women.

But Newsom didn’t elaborate, and his office at the time couldn’t say exactly what that meant.

On Wednesday, the governor’s office said it would not renew the contract between Walgreens and the California Department of General Services, which provides “specialty pharmacy prescription drugs” primarily used in the state’s correctional health care system.

The state paid Walgreens $54 million under a contract that was due to be renewed on May 1, but was canceled as part of an ongoing “review of all contracts between the state and Walgreens.” When asked, Newsom’s office said. Newsom said the state would “consider other options to provide the same service.”

“California will not stand by as companies give in to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world and will use its market power to protect its options.”

At issue is mifepristone, which is part of a two-drug cocktail and is The Food and Drug Administration approved its use in 2000Used in more than half of US abortions.

The Biden administration has sought to make the drug more accessible since the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling that established abortion rights. Traditionally, for safety reasons, the only option was to get it directly through a doctor, but this year the FDA expanded its rule to allow retail pharmacies to dispense the pills after completing the approval process. Walgreens is one of the pharmacies that have gone through that process.

but after receiving Letter signed last month by 20 state attorneys general Walgreens, which noted that sending abortion pills by mail violates federal law, responded that it would not distribute the pill in those states, and Newsom cited news of the decision in a comment Monday.

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday.and statement on monday, the Illinois-based pharmacy said: Once FDA approval is obtained, this drug will be dispensed in compliance with federal and state laws. ”

Anti-abortion activists have accused Newsom, who is often cited as a potential Democratic presidential nominee, for targeting Walgreens if Joe Biden declines his re-election bid.

Mary Rose Short, director of Right to Life in California, said, “Gavin Newsom’s attempt to bully Walgreens into offering abortion pills in a potentially illegal jurisdiction is not a viable option. It highlights the priority given to handing over a dead child over a dead child.

“In California, Newsom has defended laws that force companies to fund and facilitate abortions,” Short said. “He’s now trying to slam his business into violating state laws that ban abortion and protect fetuses and their mothers. I hope that

Abortion rights advocates criticized Walgreens for last week’s decision and praised Newsom for punishing pharmacies. Pushed Proposition 1, a ballot measure approved by two out of three voters who amended the state constitution to ban

Shannon Olivieri Hovis, Director of NARAL Prochoice California, said, “Being a reproductive freedom state means that people hold onto the boundaries of reproductive freedom no matter where they live. “Governor Newsom is doing just that. increase.”

The FDA originally approved mifepristone up to 7 weeks’ gestation in 2000 and extended it to 10 weeks’ gestation in 2016. The agency says the drug is “safe when used as directed” and was approved after a “thorough and comprehensive review of the scientific evidence.” Since then, 28 patient deaths related to mifepristone have been reported.

The February 1st warning letter to Walgreens was issued to the judiciary of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. signed by the Secretary. , Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.of The Kansas Attorney General sent a similar letter Separately. They argued that federal and many state laws prohibit the use of mail for distribution of abortion drugs, questioning the legality of making them available outside of doctors’ offices. .

Newsom said on Wednesday that abortion is still legal in some states where attorneys general have threatened to sue. Reproductive Rights CenterAlaska, Florida, Kansas, and Montana have constitutional abortion rights.

In a statement this week, Rite Aid said it was “monitoring the latest federal, state, legal and regulatory developments regarding the dispensing of mifepristone.” We will continue to evaluate the company’s ability to formulate mifepristone according to those developments.”

CVS, which also received a warning letter from the attorney general, has no comment.

https://www.siliconvalley.com/2023/03/08/california-cancels-54-million-walgreens-contract-over-abortion-pill-fight/ California cancels $54 million Walgreens deal over abortion drug war

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