CVS requiring verification on drugs with possible abortion use in 5 states

CVS pharmacy is requiring pharmacists to double-check before filling certain prescriptions in states now outlawing abortion. 

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning the right to choose to have an abortion, CVS pharmacy is now requiring pharmacists in five states, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas, to validate the intended use of certain prescriptions before filling them. To help the drugstore chain, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, is asking care providers to help by including their diagnosis on the prescriptions.

The prescriptions are methotrexate and misprostol. They can be used for medical abortions but are also prescribed for a number of other ailments including arthritis, lupus, and cancer.

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CVS told FOX 5 their highest priority is ensuring safe and timely access to medications and they are committed to supporting women's health care. The company adds, however, that because these five states now have criminal penalties in place for providing abortions, it must require pharmacists to validate the intended use of the drugs to ensure they are not for terminating a pregnancy.

You can read the full statement below:

"Our highest priority is ensuring safe and timely access to medications for our patients and we’re committed to supporting women’s health care.

At the same time, laws in certain states restrict the dispensing of medications for the purpose of inducing an abortion. These laws, some of which include criminal penalties, have forced us to require pharmacists in these states to validate that the intended indication is not to terminate a pregnancy before they can fill a prescription for methotrexate or misoprostol.  The requirement is currently in place at our pharmacies in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas. It went into effect the first week of July. 

Pharmacists are caught in the middle on this issue. We will continue to focus on delivering care to our patients while complying with state laws and federal guidance that continues to evolve. To help ensure patients have quick and easy access to medications, we encourage providers to include their diagnosis on the prescriptions they write."

CVS says that the policy will only impact the five states listed in the company's statement, and that it will continue to fill methotrexate and misprostol prescriptions for abortion purposes where it is legal to do so.

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The announcement comes after the Biden administration issued a warning earlier this month to pharmacies that they should not discriminate against women who are trying to fill prescriptions for reproductive health purposes, including terminating a pregnancy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.