New York officials ask 3 pharmacy chains for plans on abortion drug access

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FILE PHOTO: People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

 

(Reuters) -New York government officials on Thursday sent a letter to pharmacy operators CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS), Walgreens Boot Alliance and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) Corp, asking about their plans to make abortion pill mifepristone available in the state.

The letter from New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James asked the companies to respond in writing within 10 business days about their commitment to dispense mifepristone at U.S. drug regulator-certified pharmacy locations and via mail in the state.

The letter follows Walgreens’ statement last week that it will not dispense abortion pills in some Republican-dominated states.

In a follow-up statement on Monday however, Walgreens said it planned to dispense mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it was legally permissible to do so. When asked about the New York officials’ letter, Walgreens directed Reuters to Monday’s statement.

Rite Aid and CVS did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. Medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of U.S. abortions, has drawn increasing attention since the Supreme Court last year overturned a landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had recognized abortion as a constitutional right nationwide.

New York has taken proactive steps to protect access to in-clinic care, including a $35 million investment to support abortion providers, the state officials said in a statement that accompanied the letter.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday the state will not do business with Walgreens after the company said it would not dispense abortion pills in some states, following a letter by Republican attorneys general of 20 states, warning it of risking breaking the law if it sold the pills.

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