Physician's viral tweet highlights post-Roe battle over arthritis drug

CVS' policy on prescriptions that can induce an abortion is facing backlash after a Texas physican's tweet went viral Aug. 27, accusing the retail pharmacy of refusing to fill a woman's prescription two days before her surgery. 

"My 55 yo friend who is having postmenopausal bleeding just called me from CVS in TX bc they refused to fill her Rx for misoprostol (used to open the cervix) bc she couldn't prove she wasn't having an abortion," Emily Porter, MD, tweeted. "She is having surgery in 2 days. This is what total abortion bans do."

As of Aug. 29, the post has more than 42,000 retweets and more than 135,000 likes. 

CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis told Becker's the company's employees are "caught in the middle of this issue."

"The prescription in question was filled for the patient after our pharmacy was able to speak with the prescribing physician," Mr. DeAngelis said. "Laws in certain states, including Texas, restrict the dispending of medications for the purpose of inducing an abortion."

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, CVS implemented a rule in some states that requires a pharmacist to confirm two drugs — methotrexate, an arthritis drug that's sometimes prescribed for cancer patients, and misoprostol, one of the two pills used in medication abortion — aren't intended to end a pregnancy. 

"She needs her cervix softened for a uterine biopsy in 2 days. So she doesn't die. @cvspharmacy doesn't care," Dr. Porter wrote in another tweet. 

Since then, multiple drugs not related to reproductive health have been caught in the crossfire, and other viral posts have circulated social media decrying other pharmacies' post-Roe decision. In July, #BoycottWalgreens trended about a disagreement at the pharmacy counter over condoms. In response, Walgreens clarified that pharmacists can refuse to sell something if they have "moral objections." 

A jury recently sided with a Minnesota pharmacist who didn't fill a prescription for an emergency contraceptive in 2019, a decision that marks a shift in how future pharmacy counter disputes will be handled.

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