Biden administration has changed a rule to allow retail pharmacies in the us to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone. the us food and drug administration (fda) updated its website with the new requirements, which has been hailed as “an important step” forward by the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists. patients must still have a prescription to obtain the pill, but they can now pick it up in-store or by mail order.
Rule change was announced in december 2021 and the fda updated its website with the new requirements shortly afterwards. the move could significantly expand access to abortion through medication and is likely to influence whether or not, and where, pharmacies will offer the pill. women in the more than dozen states where abortion has been banned will also likely need to travel to other states to obtain medication abortion.
Move was made in response to the pandemic-driven move toward telemedicine, and the fda’s decision to permanently lift the requirement for patients to obtain a prescription in person via a healthcare provider. the move has been supported by the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, and drug chains cvs and walgreens have both said they are reviewing the new requirements. more than half of us abortions are done with pills rather than by surgery, according to the pro-choice guttmacher institute. pharmacies can now apply for certification to distribute mifepristone, which will allow them to directly service customers with a prescription from a certified prescriber.