After a rule change finalized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, authorized retail pharmacies can now fill prescriptions for the abortion drug mifepristone.
In the past, patients could only get mifepristone through certified healthcare providers. did.
Under the new regulations, mifepristone will continue to require a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. But now retail pharmacies that have completed the accreditation process can fill those prescriptions.
“It’s been a very niche product for a long time,” Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanded Access to Medical Abortion Project, tells ABC News’ Anne Flaherty. “But this is definitely a step in the direction of mainstreaming this drug.”
The FDA approved mifepristone for medical abortion up to 7 weeks’ gestation in September 2000. In 2016, the agency extended its use up to the 10th week of pregnancy.
Mifepristone is used in combination with another drug called misoprostol. Misoprostol is more readily available at pharmacies with a prescription. Mifepristone works by blocking the hormones needed to sustain pregnancy, and then 24 to 48 hours later, misoprostol is taken to expel the pregnant tissue from the uterus. washington postof Frances Stead Sellers and Rachel Leuvain.
The rule change could expand access to medical abortion at a time when more people are seeking it. new york timesPam Bellak reports. According to his Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, more than half of abortions in the United States are now done on the pill.
Still, it’s not clear how quickly or broadly the new changes will go into effect, Moore told ABC News. Bans and restrictions on abortion make it difficult or illegal for pharmacies to fill prescriptions for pills. “Unfortunately, today’s announcement does not provide equal access for everyone,” Evan Masingill, his CEO at GenBioPro, the maker of the pill, told ABC News. .
Additionally, pharmacies must voluntarily apply for certification before selling the pill. If so, “it could change the conversation about abortion and pave the way for people in rural areas of the state,” said Rachel Lebusche, dean of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. washington post.
Because accreditation requires time and resources, some pharmacies may not think the process is worth the effort. Times“Certification is a hurdle,” said Amet Sarpatwari, an epidemiologist and attorney at Harvard Medical School. washington post“Given the safety profile of this drug, I do not believe these safeguards are necessary.”
Anti-abortion advocates aim to file a legal challenge to the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and force the agency to address the unregulated online sale of the pill, ABC News writes. increase. “Abortion activists want to turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion business, and Biden FDA is happy to be a part of it.” Times.
“Today’s FDA announcement doesn’t solve the problem of access for everyone seeking abortion care, but more patients who need mifepristone for medical abortion can benefit from this important drug. ,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in a statement. By Matthew Perone of The Associated Press.