Two of the biggest pharmacy chains in the country are planning to seek the certification needed to dispense abortion pills in the states where it is legal, according to spokespeople for the companies.
The decisions by Walgreens and CVS are likely to provide a boost to a new Food and Drug Administration policy announced Tuesday that will allow retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone from a certified prescriber if they meet certain criteria.
Pharmacies in states with near-total abortion bans would not be eligible. Some states also mandate that the pills must be dispensed in-person by the physician who prescribed them.
But people who want the pills can still travel to other states where abortion is legal or where there aren’t restrictions.
“We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program,” Fraser Engerman, a spokesman for Walgreens, said in an email. “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 spokeswoman for CVS said the company also plans to seek certification “where legally permissible.”
Until 2021, mifepristone could only be dispensed in person by a physician. The FDA temporarily lifted that requirement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Biden administration made the change permanent in December 2021, paving the way for doctors to prescribe the drug digitally and then mail the pills to patients.