Walgreens says it currently doesn’t have plans to make key abortion pill available at Kansas locations
photo by: AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File
The second-largest drug store chain in America has indicated it doesn’t plan on selling a key abortion pill in Kansas, but it also left open the possibility that it may change its mind on the matter.
Walgreens has communicated to Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach that it currently is not selling and doesn’t yet have plans to sell Mifepristone, a pill that is commonly used by physicians to abort a fetus through the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy.
“Walgreens does not intend to dispense Mifepristone within your state and does not intend to ship Mifepristone into your state from any of our pharmacies,” Danielle C. Gray, an executive vice president and attorney for Walgreens, said in a Feb. 17 letter to Kobach’s office. “If this approach changes, we will be sure to notify you.”
Kobach, a staunch anti-abortion advocate who was elected attorney general last November, was among 20 Republican attorneys general who sent a letter to Walgreens urging it to keep the pill out of their states or risk legal consequences.
The pill has become a new point of contention in the debate surrounding abortion. The Food and Drug Administration last month changed their regulation so that pharmacies can dispense Mifepristone, as long as the pharmacies meet certain certifications.
Kobach, however, contends that the FDA regulations are in violation of federal law, particularly if the pills are mailed to individuals.
“I am writing to advise you that this plan is illegal,” Kobach wrote on Feb. 6 of any efforts dispense the pills by mail-order pharmacy, “and Kansas will not hesitate to enforce the law.”
Walgreens, however, told Kobach in its response that the drug store chain has never said it intends to dispense the pills through the mail. Walgreens is going through a certification process that would allow it to dispense the pills at its brick-and-mortar pharmacies.
“At this time, we are working through the certification process, which includes the evaluation of our pharmacy network to determine where we will dispense Mifepristone and training protocols and updates for our pharmacists,” Walgreens said in its letter to Kobach.
In his original letter Kobach reminded Walgreens that a separate Kansas law requires Mifepristone “to be administered by or in the same room and in the physical presence of the physician who prescribed, dispensed or otherwise provided the drug to the patient.”
In its letter, Walgreens did not specifically agree or disagree with any of the legal contentions made by Kobach, but said the company would dispense Mifepristone in a manner “consistent with all applicable laws and as a result would not be able to dispense Mifepristone in all locations.”
That statement, however, seemingly does not rule out Walgreens being able to dispense the pills in some of its Kansas pharmacies, if those brick-and-mortar stores also have a physician located inside. That’s been a trend with some pharmacy companies, especially with CVS, the country’s largest drug store chain.