Walgreens confirms plans to sell abortion pills under new FDA rules

Joseph Wilkinson
New York Daily News (TNS)

Walgreens expects to offer abortion pills after the Food and Drug Administration changed its rules for the drug.

“We are working through the registration, necessary training of our pharmacists, as well as evaluating our pharmacy network in terms of where we normally dispense products that have extra FDA requirements and will dispense these consistent with federal and state laws,” a Walgreens spokesman told medical publication STAT News on Wednesday.

The FDA altered its requirements for selling mifepristone on Tuesday, allowing retail pharmacies such as Walgreens to offer the medication for the first time.

A Walgreens sign seen in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn on Feb. 9, 2021, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS)

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All pharmacies must first complete an FDA certification process before they can fill prescriptions for the drug, which is also known by the brand name Mifeprex.

Before the rule change, mifepristone was only available through certain mail-order pharmacies and clinics. And prior to the pandemic, people were required to pick up the medication in person.

Mifepristone has been available since 2000 and used by an estimated 3.7 million people. More than half of abortions in the U.S. are now medically induced.

Other major pharmacies, such as CVS and Rite Aid, have not yet publicly committed to offering mifepristone.

“If Walgreens leads the way, others will likely follow,” University of Pittsburgh health law professor Greer Donley told STAT News. “Clearly, they think the benefits outweigh the burdens.”