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America’s ONLY distributor of controversial abortion pill will no longer supply it to 31 US states

America’s lone distributor of the abortion drug mifepristone could soon cut distribution to half of US states.

AmerisourceBergen, based in just outside of Philadelphia, sent clients a list of 31 states it would no longer source the drug to. 

It is the only company in America that supplies the drug. This means the decision will greatly impact abortion access in the affected states.

The firm supplies mifepristone to pharmacy giant Walgreens, which promised to 21 Republican-led states last week it would not dispense the pills. It is unclear how much the AmerisourceBergen decision impacted Walgreens’.

It comes as mifepristone finds itself at the center of a landmark case for abortion rights, as anti-abortion activists hope to have its regulatory approval pulled  — effectively banning it nationwide.

Medication-induced abortion has been a lifeline for women in blue states and even red states since the Supreme Court eliminated the federal guarantee to an abortion

More than a dozen states have restricted access to abortions following the overturning of Roe V Wade

More than a dozen states have restricted access to abortions following the overturning of Roe V Wade

The company told Vox media the situation is ‘dynamic’ and ‘ever evolving’.

Mifepristone makes up half of the combination used to induce a medication abortion.

When used in combination with the stomach ulcer drug misoprostol it has been shown to be safe and effective at terminating a pregnancy in the first 10 weeks. 

Medication-induced abortions make up the majority share of abortions carried out after the Supreme Court’s decision to revoked federal protections for the procedure last summer.

At the start of 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that drugstores could fill prescriptions for the pills.

In the time since, CVS and Walgreens — among America’s two largest pharmacy chains — both revealed plans to dispense the drugs after passing regulator hurdles.

Walgreens, which has nearly 9,000 US stores, announced that it would no longer distribute the drug in 21 states last week in a move that angered abortion advocates.

GOP attorneys from the states sent letters to CVS, Rite Aid, Albertsons, Costco, Kroger and Walmart pressuring them to make such a move.

In response, Danielle Gray on Walgreens’ legal team said: ‘As you know, to become certified by the FDA, participating pharmacies must satisfy a range of safety and risk mitigation requirements to dispense this drug.

‘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.’

It is unclear whether these same pressures also fueled the AmerisourceBergen decision, or what communication the firm has had with GOP officials. 

Whether the list of 31 states not to receive the pills still stands is unclear. 

The distributor has not responded to a request for comment.

Walgreens, meanwhile, reaffirmed to that it would dispense mifepristone in all states where abortion is legal as soon as it becomes certified to do so per FDA requirements.  

Previously, mifepristone was only able to be dispensed by a physician in person at a subset of specialty offices and clinics because of safety concerns. 

Despite the expanded regulatory access to mifepristone, a contentious court battle in Texas is currently threatening its availability across the US.

US District Court for the Northern District of Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is expected to rule any day now on whether or not mifepristone, the first part of a two-pill medication regimen, will lose its approval from the FDA.

Mifepristone is taken first and works by dilating the cervix and blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone, which is needed to sustain a pregnancy. 

About 24 hours later, the patient takes misoprostol, a drug used to treat stomach ulcers that causes the uterus to cramp and contract, causing bleeding and expelling of the pregnancy tissue.

Judge Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who has closely aligned himself with far-right ideology.

The case in question is the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs the US FDA, first filed late last year to challenge the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex in 2000.

It was filed by the anti-abortion group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The group argues that the drug was not properly checked for safety when it received approval 23 years ago.

The ADF also argues that the drug’s approval is nullified by the Comstock Act of 1873 — which bans the sale of immoral or indecent products through the mail.

They argue the law should make it illegal for the drug to be sent through the mail, and the FDA’s approval to do such should be axed.

A move to revoke FDA approval would almost certainly be appealed immediately by abortion rights activists.

But, the appeals court at the fifth circuit that would weigh the case is also very politically conservative.


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