California will not renew $54 million contract with Walgreens

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that California will not renew its multimillion-dollar contract with Walgreens after the company said it would not provide medical abortion in several states where abortion is legal.

The California Department of Public Services issued a formal notice “in which it is withdrawing a proposed extension of this agreement to be effective May 1, 2023” and “will evaluate other options for providing the same services,” according to a statement from the Newsom office.

“Under this agreement, Walgreens has received approximately $54 million from the state,” the statement said.

“California will not stand by as companies cave in to extremists and shut down critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said. “California is on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world, and we will use our market power to defend the right to free choice.”

A Walgreens store in Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP file

Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Walgreens announced its decision on abortion pills last week after it faced increasing pressure from a group of Republican attorneys general — in states where abortion is both legal and illegal — who wrote a letter telling the company it could face legal ramifications if there drugs like mifepristone, a common abortion pill, in their states.

On Monday, Newsom said the state would not do business with Walgreens as a result of the decision.

“California doesn’t do business @Walgreens — or any company that ducks before extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done,” he tweeted at that time.

A spokesman for the governor, Brandon Richards, said in a statement to NBC News Monday that “California is reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state.”


“We will not do business with companies that give in to right-wing bullies who are pushing their extremist agenda, or companies that prioritize politics over women’s and girls’ health,” Richards added.

Fraser Engerman, a spokesman for Walgreens, told NBC News last week that the company “is not currently issuing mifepristone. We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program but will only dispense in those jurisdictions where permitted by law if we are certified.”

“This is a very complex and evolving area of ​​law and we take that into account when seeking certification to dispense mifepristone,” he added.


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