California cancels Walgreens contract renewal over abortion pill restrictions

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said California will not renew a contract with Walgreens Boots Alliance after the drugstore chain said it would stop selling abortion pills in Republican-led states.

The drugstore chain said last Friday that it was halting sales of mifepristone in 20 states following warnings by Republican attorneys general of legal action against the company as well as CVS Health Corp.  The two retailers could face legal consequences if they mail and distribute abortion medication in those states.

On Monday, Newsom in a tweet ordered a review of any state-held contracts with the chain. By Wednesday, the state had found at least one that was due for renewal on May 1.

The contract between the California Department of General Services and Walgreens allowed the state to buy prescription drugs, which were mostly used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and its correctional health care system, Newsom’s statement said.

In an email, Newsom’s office said the contract was worth roughly $11.5 million in 2022 and a combined $54 million over the last eight years.

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The state now will look for other options to supply the drugs in those systems.

“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a statement issued Wednesday. “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.”

CVS so far hasn’t commented publicly on what it will do regarding abortion pill sales.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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