The FDA clears the way for retail pharmacies to carry abortion medications

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When Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, many of us got a crash course in modern abortion. Like, how much abortion has changed since the 1970s. Currently, medical abortions account for more than half of all abortions in the US. There is a simple and effective abortive method for people in the first trimester: following the directions with a prescription for mifepristone. When Roe was overturned, the Biden administration made a point of saying that regardless of what the state regulations are, people have a federal right to seek and obtain abortion medication, because mifepristone is federally regulated. Now the FDA is trying to make it even easier for people to have access to the medication.

For the first time, retail pharmacies, from corner drugstores to major chains like CVS and Walgreens, will be allowed to offer abortion pills in the United States under a regulatory change made Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The action could significantly expand access to abortion through medication.

Until now, mifepristone — the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen — could be dispensed only by a few mail-order pharmacies or by specially certified doctors or clinics. Under the new F.D.A. rules, patients will still need a prescription from a certified health care provider, but any pharmacy that agrees to accept those prescriptions and abide by certain other criteria can dispense the pills in its stores and by mail order.

The change comes as abortion pills, already used in more than half of pregnancy terminations in the U.S., are becoming even more sought after in the aftermath of last year’s Supreme Court decision overturning the federal right to abortion. With conservative states banning or sharply restricting abortion, the pills have increasingly become the focus of political and legal battles, which may influence a pharmacy’s decision about whether or not to dispense the medication.

The F.D.A. did not issue an announcement but updated its website to reflect the decision and added to a series of questions and answers. The two makers of the pill, Danco Laboratories and GenBioPro, released statements saying the agency had informed them of the action.

[From The NY Times]

Considering there are too many pharmacists who refuse to give people the morning-after pill AND birth-control pills, I think it’s safe to say that American pharmacies will soon become a major battlefield in the abortion war. That being said, I would imagine that many pharmacy chains will be fine with it at a corporate level – the FDA is making it easier for people to access these important medications, and more women will hopefully have access to what they need.

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13 Responses to “The FDA clears the way for retail pharmacies to carry abortion medications”

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  1. Concern Fae says:

    One thing states need to do is pass laws saying that if a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription, they must notify the doctor who wrote it before doing so. That would end this power tripping fast. It’s fun to be all misogynist to the lady wanting her slut pills, but they wouldn’t do it so fast if the doctors knew.

    • SarahCS says:

      That’s a great idea.

      It makes me so angry that people just won’t stay out of our reproductive organs, is anyone refusing to fill prescriptions for viagra? Leave us alone.

    • Twin Falls says:

      Love this. The gate keeping by pharmacists has got to stop.

    • JesMa says:

      I don’t think they would care. These are the people that will take these cases all the way to the SCOTUS arguing religious freedom. So I don’t think they will have an issue telling doctors they won’t fill the script.

    • Lilikins says:

      Most chain pharmacies have a policy that if a pharmacist refuses to fill plan b there must be someone available (tech, front end manager etc) who is willing and able to sell. While a pharmacist can’t be forced to fill a birth control prescription, you can bet that they won’t be working there for long once corporate finds out about it. While I agree that no one should be coming between anyone’s own reproductive rights, it’s a dangerous thing suggesting that laws need to be passed preventing pharmacists denying scripts because where do you draw the line? Only reproductive medications? Well now how about other medications? You wouldn’t believe the number of scripts I need to deny on a daily basis because if I were to dispense them as the dr wrote it, it would kill that patient. Just today I had to deny one script that was 8x the fda limit on a heart medication and another 6x the morphine dose she normally takes because the dr made a typo. Tie our hands and we won’t be able to do our jobs effectively.

  2. Stacey Dresden says:

    Positive news. Thank you FDA.

  3. Mcali says:

    I am SICK this is even a thing. First the overturning of Roe v. Wade and now they are going after the medications. Way to make women suffer more mentally and physically. I will never forgive anyone who supports this s***.

  4. Frippery says:

    Pharmacists still can and will refuse to dispense. Those seeking an abortion will still need a medical provider to prescribe it. This new regulation does nothing to remove those barriers for people deep in red country who won’t be able to find those things. 4 hour drive across state lines to visit a clinic versus 4 hour drive across state lines to find a pharmacy that will fill the prescription.

  5. Isabella says:

    Can these pills be ordered online?

    • JesMa says:

      I’m not sure that would be a great idea. It should be done under a doctor’s care. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Since I was only 8 weeks my OB prescribed this medication to me. It caused me to hemorrhage and it didn’t even empty my uterus. By the time I went to the ER due to my doctor’s advice, I had lost almost half my blood supply. They said had I gone to sleep like my husband suggested then I wouldn’t have woken up.

      • Jewell says:

        @Jesma . Retail pharmacies still require prescription. I don’t see that they are saying it’s going “over the counter”. Just that your doctor can order it through the local cvs instead of having to find it from one of a few specially certified clinics and mail order pharmacies

  6. Celina says:

    So glad this is happening. People experiencing miscarriage may need this drug too. I’m glad access is being expanded for everyone who needs it.