US Allows Retail Pharmacies To Sell Abortion Pills. What This Means
US public health officials this week allowed pharmacies to sell prescription abortion pills. What exactly does that change for women in the United States, after several states banned abortion last year?
– Where were they sold before? –
A medical abortion, also known as a medical abortion, involves taking two different drugs for a day or two.
The first (mifepristone) prevents pregnancy, and the second (misoprostol) causes bleeding to empty the uterus.
The biggest issues surround mifepristone, which has been authorized and regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2000.
The FDA has approved the use of mifepristone until the 10th week of pregnancy.
Until a short time before the Covid pandemic, it could only be offered in person and in specific locations, especially abortion clinics.
But due to a lawsuit during the pandemic, the FDA has agreed to temporarily authorize the delivery of the drug by mail, after consulting – in person or remotely – with a doctor.
Then, in December 2021, the FDA announced that it would permanently lift the requirement for direct delivery of mifepristone.
The agency asked two drug companies that supply it — Danco Laboratories, which sells it under the name Mifeprex, and generic manufacturer GenBioPro — to set up a system that would allow for wider distribution. That’s what was approved this week.
– How does the new system work? –
Pharmacies that want to sell mifepristone will have to sign a return form to Danco and GenBioPro, ensuring that they will be able to dispense the drug to patients within up to four days (if the medication is not on site).
The pharmacy must also stipulate that the prescription comes from a certified medical professional (a doctor or, depending on the state, a nurse).
To be certified, caregivers must fill out a form themselves ensuring that they have a relationship with a hospital or clinic that can provide urgent care if needed. They must also obtain a signed consent form from their patient.
Since doctors themselves are no longer required to stockpile drugs, more people may decide to participate.
Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanding Access to Drug Abortion Project, told AFP it was a “very decentralized system”. The FDA is “absolutely not involved in the day-to-day regulatory work.”
For Antonia Biggs, a researcher in reproductive health issues at the University of California, San Francisco, different certifications are unnecessary, but the FDA’s decision represents “a huge step forward” — “it brings the abortion pill closer to everyone.”
– How soon will pharmacies join? –
That is not clear. “I would say that in the coming weeks and months we will be able to see some more providers” join the program, Jenny Ma, senior adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told AFP.
Two of the largest US drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS, said they would like to join the states if possible.
– What is the impact in states where abortion is legal? –
When abortion is legal, the new measure adds a third option for getting the pill, after abortion clinics and by mail. It may allow some women to have an earlier abortion without waiting for the pill to arrive or having to travel to a clinic that may be far away.
“That would greatly benefit people living in rural communities,” said Ma, especially those who “cannot afford the cost of travel.”
It can also help women for whom getting medication in the mail can be uncomfortable or complicated, whether young people living with parents, “those in a violent relationship” or people without “stable housing,” says Biggs.
Above all, Ma said, “it drives abortion care; it makes it like any other comparable drug.”
– What about states where abortion is illegal? –
A landmark ruling last summer by the US Supreme Court reversed abortion rights nationwide, allowing each state to pass its own legislation governing the procedure.
Since then, about a dozen states have made abortion almost entirely illegal.
In those states, abortion pills are still illegal — the FDA ruling doesn’t change anything.
“What it will do is make disparities (between countries) even more obvious,” Ma said.
But women who decide to travel to a state where abortion is legal can now find a pharmacy much closer to an abortion clinic, thus minimizing and simplifying their commute. surname.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the aggregate feed.)
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