On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom canceled a $54 million contract with Walgreens after the pharmacy behemoth said it would not mail-order an abortion medication in some states with a conservative majority.
On Wednesday, Newsom commanded state authorities not to extend a contract with Walgreens to acquire specialized pharmacy prescription drugs for California’s prison health care system, including congestive heart failure and antiviral and antifungal medications.
The contract expires on April 30 and has brought in around $54 million for Walgreens. According to Newsom’s office, the state will purchase the medications elsewhere.
“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a news release. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”
A Walgreens official did not answer a request for comment from the Associated Press via email. This pharmacy chain is in the northern Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.
But, the business stated in a statement earlier this week that it intends to supply the medication, known as mifepristone, “in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so.”
“Providing legally approved medications to patients is what pharmacies do and is rooted in our commitment to the communities in which we operate,” according to a statement on the company’s website.
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Using mifepristone with another medication will cause the termination of a pregnancy. The American Food and Drug Administration gave the pill the go-ahead in 2000 for use up until the tenth week of pregnancy.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that promotes abortion rights, drugs are now used to perform more than half of all abortions in the United States.
More than a dozen states have banned the use of abortion drugs since the U.S. Supreme Court last year abolished the federal right to an abortion. However, these limitations are being contested in court.
Walgreens and CVS have been warned they may face legal repercussions if they offer abortion drugs in 20 states, most of which have Republican governors. Walgreens said a statement stating that it will not administer the medicine in their states was sent to each attorney general last week.
In response to the revelation, Newsom tweeted on Monday that California wouldn’t do business with Walgreens or “any firm that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”
California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 6, 2023
“We’re done,” Newsom said.
Walgreens recorded $132.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year that concluded on August 31; therefore, losing the California contract will only have a little effect on the company’s earnings.
Nevertheless, According to Newsom, the move primarily focuses on establishing California’s position as a pioneer in what he has dubbed “reproductive freedom.”
Newsom has vowed to turn California into a haven for citizens of other states with harsh or outlawed restrictions on abortion. More than a dozen new pieces of legislation protecting abortion rights were enacted by Newsom last year, and he also approved $20 million in additional expenditures to assist in covering the costs of patients traveling to California from other states to undergo abortions.
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