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Newsom Boycotts Walgreens

On Monday. we had an item on how Walgreens has decided to stop selling the abortion pill mifepristone in states where the (Republican) AG doesn't want them to sell it, even though states have no authority to unapprove drugs the FDA has approved. As a result, some pro-choice supporters have urged a boycott against Walgreens for its cowardice. The idea is that if the financial hit for dropping mifepristone is big enough, the company might decide to change its mind.

A guy in California thought a boycott was a splendid idea. His name is Gavin Newsom. You might have heard of him. He is the governor of the state. Earlier this week, he said: "California is reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state. We will not pursue business with companies that cave to right-wing bullies pushing their extremist agenda or companies that put politics above the health of women and girls." Newsom wants to find out how much stuff California buys from Walgreens and look for alternative suppliers. If that requires a new law stating that bidders on state contracts that supply medicines to, say, Medi-Cal, must offer all FDA approved medicines, Democrats have enough votes in the state legislature to pass something along those lines. Then Walgreens will have to decide if it is willing to forgo a large chunk of business to placate anti-abortion activists.

Newsom is a potential presidential candidate in 2024 if Joe Biden declines to run and a potential 2028 presidential candidate if Biden does run. He understands that standing up to companies that cower before right-wing bullies is going to be a selling point in the Democratic primaries, whenever he runs. Just as Ron DeSantis is going to run on what he delivered, Newsom would love to be able to say: "I forced Walgreens to back down and sell the abortion pill, even in Repiblican-controlled states."

Newsom is definitely not an all bark, no bite, kind of guy. Late yesterday, he suspended a $54 million contract between Walgreens and the state of California. Just in case Walgreens didn't get the point, he noted that California has one of the largest economies in the world and "we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose." Take that Walgreens! Now Walgreens is the one who is going to have to choose.

Oh, and one other thing. Walgreens is headquartered in Illinois and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) said that he was going to have a little chat with the company's CEO later this week. If all the big blue states follow California's lead, Walgreens is going to have an Excedrin-extra-strength headache. Fortunately, they sell that product in all states. (V)

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