CVS, Walgreens To Dispense Abortion Pill Mifepristone In Keystone State

The medication is currently tied up in a Supreme Court case.

Credit: James Stenberg

Major pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens of Friday announced plans to begin dispensing the abortion medication mifepristone at select locations, including in Pennsylvania and other states where abortion remains legal.

The decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent policy amendment finalized in January 2023, which expanded the accessibility of abortion pills by permitting pharmacies to provide them directly to patients either in person or via mail.

At this time, CVS and Walgreens have indicated they will not yet offer mail delivery for the medication.

The medication will have to be prescribed by a doctor and is not available over the counter.

To dispense mifepristone, pharmacies must adhere to specific FDA requirements and complete certification forms, a process both CVS and Walgreens have successfully completed.

Walgreens has stated it will start offering mifepristone within a week at certain locations in states including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

“We are beginning a phased rollout in select locations to allow us to ensure quality, safety, and privacy for our patients, providers, and team members,” Walgreens said in a statement.

CVS is in the process of obtaining the medication from manufacturers and suppliers and is not currently dispensing it. A spokesperson told multiple news outlets the medication will begin to be dispensed in New England.

Mifepristone, also known by its brand name Mifeprex, is one of two drugs used in the United States to perform medication abortions.

The medication is most commonly used in conjunction with misoprostol. It has been FDA-approved since 2000.

Despite its approval and common use, the medication has been embroiled in legal controversies, particularly following a Texas federal judge’s decision last year to suspend the FDA’s approval of the drug—a ruling currently under legal challenge.

The drug’s availability has become a contentious issue, with some states seeking to limit or ban access while others fighting to protect and expand it.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments related to the case on March 26.

The nation’s highest court taking up the case will marks its first abortion-related case since the overturning of Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said last year that the drug remained legal in the Keystone State as the case makes its way through the court system.

Advocates for reproductive rights, like Melissa Reed, president of Bucks County-based Planned Parenthood Keystone, hailed the decision as a major victory for accessibility, according to

Politico reported that some anti-abortion groups have protested outside CVS and Walgreens locations.

President Joe Biden lauded the move and pointed to it as an important milestone in ensuring access to mifepristone, a medication deemed safe and effective by the FDA for over two decades, the White House said in a statement.

About the author


Leave a Comment