America’s ONLY distributor of controversial abortion pill plans to still provide medication
- AmerisourceBergen circulated the list to major clients like Walgreens and CVS
- It underscores the uncertainty surrounding abortion pills pose Roe v. Wade
- The move imperils access to the drug that constitutes more than half of abortions
AmerisourceBergen will continue to provide access to the abortion pill mifepristone to all 50 US states despite contrary reports.
The Pennsylvania firm is the lone distributor of the drug, which forms half of the cocktail needed for a medication abortion.
The firm plans to supply it to pharmacy giant Walgreens, which promised to 21 Republican-led states last week it would not dispense the pills after receiving pressure from GOP officials. Walgreens currently does not dispense mifepristone anywhere.
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.
Despite a report otherwise on Wednesday, the AmerisourceBergen confirmed to DailyMail.com it will not pull the pill from reported states.
DailyMail.com initially reached out to the firm for comment at 11:48 am EST via its online portal.
It replied to the comment at 3:38 pm EST, saying: ‘We have and will continue to make Mifeprex available to eligible medical providers in all 50 states, and with the January 2023 FDA decision to allow retail pharmacies to dispense Mifeprex, we are distributing to certified retail sites of care in states where it is consistent with the law.
‘AmerisourceBergen does not and should not make clinical decisions or values-based judgements on which FDA approved products it distributes.’
When asked if a Vox Media report that it would no longer distribute the pills in 31 states was inaccurate, it said: ‘Yes, the January information reported by Vox is both out of date and inaccurate.’
‘We are intentionally (and legally) not going to get into specifics about which customers we are/aren’t shipping to and prefer to stand on the language in our statement.’
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.
Abortion pill could be banned across US in high-stakes court fight
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas is considering whether to reverse the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, marketed as Mifeprex, which would halt its use nationwide.
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 not distribute the drug in 21 states in a move that angered abortion advocates.
GOP attorneys general 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.’
Walgreens also reaffirmed to DailyMail.com 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.
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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.