Walgreens, CVS plan to dispense abortion pills

After the FDA said it would allow some retail pharmacies to dispense prescribed abortion pills, Walgreens and CVS told Becker's they plan to distribute the drug mifepristone. 

In an FDA decision that came without a news release, mifepristone — one of two drugs used in medication abortion, an approved regimen to end a pregnancy in the first 10 weeks — is now available for retail pharmacy dispensing with its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy Program. 

A CVS spokesperson said the company, which has more than 9,000 pharmacies, will seek certification in locations where dispensing the drug is legal. The company did not specify which locations it is eyeing, but two states have a partial ban on the drug after a specific point in pregnancy and 29 states require a physician to administer abortion pills, meaning patients cannot mail order the drugs, according to the Guttmacher Institute

Walgreens said it also plans to become certified with the program by working through the registration process, training its staff and following state and federal laws. 

A spokesperson for the national retailer, which has roughly the same number of locations as CVS, told Becker's "we are not speculating on a timeline on when these will be available."

Honeybee Health, an online pharmacy that focuses on shipping abortion pills, said in a Facebook post it became the first pharmacy certified to dispense medication abortion on Jan. 3. 

One of the requirements of the rule change with mifepristone dispensing dictates that eligible retail pharmacies must be able to ship the drug and provide tracking data, according to the FDA document published Jan. 3. 

The U.S. Postal Service is legally allowed to ship both mifepristone and misoprostol — the other drug used in medication abortion — The Hill reported, according to a Justice Department legal opinion from late December.

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