The owner of Boots has been embroiled in a major US abortion rights scandal after the company restricted access to treatment in some states due to threats of legal action.
U.S. regulators have loosened rules on the sale of abortion pills, meaning pharmacies like the Walgreens Boots Alliance can sell them more widely.
But America’s largest pharmacy chain said it would not sell the popular mifepristone abortion pill in 20 Republican-led states after it received legal threats from party officials.
Legal Threats: The Walgreens Boots Alliance said it would not sell the popular abortion pill mifepristone in 20 Republican-led states.
In a letter sent to the company, they warned that Walgreens could face legal consequences if it distributes abortion pills in their states.
Walgreens has agreed not to sell mifepristone tablets in 20 states, including Texas and Georgia, and not to mail them to the region.
But this decision caused a serious backlash in the US.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California said he would refuse to do business with Walgreens or “any company that puts the lives of women at risk as extremists.”
Abortion remains a controversial topic in the US and has received increasing attention since last year the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion a constitutional right across the country.
Currently, 12 states have near total bans on abortion, with very few exceptions.
In response to the backlash, Walgreens said it would market the drug in accordance with federal and state laws once it was certified by the relevant regulatory authorities.
“We want to make clear what our position has always been: Walgreens plans to dispense mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legal to do so,” Walgreens said in a statement.
However, some have taken to social media to indicate that the company has already agreed to stop selling the pills where abortion is currently legal but where officials have threatened legal action.
These states include Iowa, Alaska, Kansas, and Montana. Shares of Walgreens fell 3.5% during yesterday’s trading in New York.
The company made headlines this side of the Atlantic last year after it pulled out of selling the Boots business.
In June, the US pharmacy giant abandoned plans to sell the British drug maker, saying buyers were unable to raise enough funds due to continued volatility in broader markets.
Walgreens hoped to sell Boots for more than £5 billion.
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