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FDA updates rule, allows pharmacies to dispense abortion pill

The Food and Drug Administration has updated a rule, allowing drug stores to sell the abortion pill mifepristone. File photo by Bill Grenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c09c2c3a572f15a76ad9cc54bebd6e08/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Food and Drug Administration has updated a rule, allowing drug stores to sell the abortion pill mifepristone. File photo by Bill Grenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 3 (UPI) — The Food and Drug Administration has updated a rule that could expand access to abortion by allowing drug stores to sell the abortion pill mifepristone.

The new rule announced Tuesday allows pharmacies to stock and dispense abortion pills to pregnant women, through 10 weeks gestation, with a prescription. To participate, pharmacies would be required to undergo a certification process first.

Until now, pregnant women could only get mifepristone, which is the first of two pills in medication abortions, directly from their doctor or through mail-order. Online requests for mail-order abortion pills have surged since the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade in June, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Generic drug maker GenBioPro called the FDA’s new rule “a step in the right direction that is especially needed to increase access to abortion care.”

“The FDA determined the removal of the in-person dispensing requirement and the addition of the requirement for certification for pharmacies were necessary to minimize the burden on the health care delivery system of complying with the agency’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, while still ensuring that the benefits of mifepristone for medical abortion outweigh the risks,” GenBioPro chief executive officer Evan Masingill said in a statement.

GenBioPro and Danco Laboratories make the pill under the brand name Mifeprex.

“This modification is critically important to expanding access to medication abortion services,” Danco Laboratories said in a statement.

While the FDA’s new rule would expand access, it would be limited to those states that already allow abortion pills. More than a dozen states that have banned abortion would not be able to participate. However, the new pharmacy rule could provide another option to those willing to cross state lines or with limited access to the internet for mail-order requests.

The FDA, in an apparent reference to the surge of mail-order requests, warned Tuesday against buying mifepristone online, or from a foreign country.

“The FDA does not have regulatory oversight of prescription medicines from outside the legitimate U.S. drug supply chain,” the agency said. “Therefore, the FDA cannot ensure the safety, effectiveness or quality of those medications.”

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