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Newsom officially pulls California out of state contract with Walgreens

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference as he is joined by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, left, and state Sen. Bob Hertzberg in Santa Monica, Calif., Friday, July 22, 2022. Newsom signed into law a bill mimicking a Texas law aimed at deterring abortions. The measure allows ordinary citizens to file lawsuits over illegal guns.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is officially pulling back the renewal of a $54 million state contract with Walgreens, after the retail pharmacy giant said it would stop providing abortion pills in 21 states.

Newsom, who on Tuesday blasted the company for its decision, saying California would no longer do business with Walgreens, announced that he would not renew a contract with the company to produce prescription drugs for the state. The contract is set to expire in May.

“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. “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.”

Walgreens’ contract with the state allowed California to produce “specialty pharmacy prescription drugs,” Newsom said, which were primarily used for the state’s correctional facilities.

But the agreement will come to an end after Walgreens said last week it would not distribute mifepristone, a drug that is part of an abortion regimen, in 21 states where Republican officials have threatened legal action against companies that try to distribute it. The threat from GOP officials comes as a string of Republican-led states have moved to strongly restrict abortion after the fall of Roe v. Wade. 

“We are deeply disappointed by the decision by the state of California not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information,” the company said in a statement to The Hill. “Walgreens is facing the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies, and no other retail pharmacies have said that they would approach this situation differently, so it’s unclear where this contract would now be moved. Our position has always been that, once we are certified by the FDA, Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so, including the state of California.”

Newsom is hitting Walgreens from the left, pulling out of a contract that had seen the company receive about $54 million. Newsom also said he was ordering a review of all contracts between the state and Walgreens. 

Newsom said that the state would explore other options to retain the same services.

Updated at 8:29 p.m.

Tags abortion rights California Gavin Newsom Gavin Newsom Walgreens

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