Photo taken Sept. 22nd 2010, shows misoprostol-inducing drugs mifepristone (photo taken at Des Moines in Iowa).
Source: Associated Press

It U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday afternoon that it will lift certain requirements around medication abortion ― making it easier to access abortion pills across the country.

After nearly a year of reviewing decades-old restrictions on mifepristone ― one of the two drugs used in abortions before 10 weeks ― the FDA decidedThe drug will be dispensed electronically and not in person. The majority of women seeking an abortion before 10 weeks are able to have the pills shipped to their home from certified online pharmacies. This is after they’ve had a telehealth consultation.

“Today, after reviewing years of evidence on the safety and effectiveness of medication abortion care, the FDA removed some outdated barriers,” said Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanding Medication Abortion Access Project. “The in-person dispensing requirements on medication abortion care have proven to be unnecessary during the pandemic, and the FDA did the right thing today by lifting them. Now patients can see a healthcare professional in a telehealth visit and then have the medications mailed to their home.”

A combination of two drugs is known as medication abortion. It’s also called abortion pills. About 80% of all abortions are performed using pills. 60%Approximately 10% of all U.S. abortions were performed within the first 10 week of pregnancy. Misoprostol and mifepristone can be combined. more than 95% effectiveThey are more secure than Tylenol.

Mifepristone has been restricted by the FDA through the Risk and Evaluation Mitigation Scheme for close to 30 years, despite its widespread safety and use. Three requirements are part of REMS, called Elements to Assure Safe Usage. To authorize abortion pills, providers need to register as prescribers. Before patients can receive the pills, they must sign an agreement with their patient and consent to receiving them. Finally, mifepristone is not available from pharmacies so you have to obtain it in person.

The FDA is lifting the last restriction ― the in-person dispensing requirement ― which the agency had already temporarily lifted during the pandemic in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

When this restriction was in place, patients could get mifepristone only from a certified prescriber in person at a hospital, clinic or physician’s office; the restriction also prohibited retail pharmacies from stocking and dispensing the medication. This milestone is significant because certified prescribers will be able to send a prescription to mail-order pharmacies for medication abortion. Those pharmacies then deliver the pills directly to a patient’s home where, usually following a telehealth consultation, they can undergo an abortion from the safety and privacy of their own home.


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