US: FDA Allows Abortion Pill Sales at Retail Pharmacies

On Tuesday night, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a regulatory change to allow retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills in US states where medical termination of pregnancy is legal.

US: FDA Allows Abortion Pill Sales at Retail Pharmacies
Image credit: NBC

Facts

  • On Tuesday night, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a regulatory change to allow retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills in US states where medical termination of pregnancy is legal.
  • Previously, the drug "mifepristone" — the first pill used in the two-drug regimen for medication abortions — could be dispensed only by a handful of mail-order pharmacies or by specially certified doctors and healthcare facilities.
  • The regulatory change allows pharmacies that complete a Prescriber Agreement Form, and agree to abide by specific criteria, to dispense abortion pills in their stores and by mail order if patients carry a prescription from a certified prescriber.
  • More than a dozen US states have moved to ban or restrict abortion since the US Supreme Court ended all federal protections for abortion when it overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • This also comes in the wake of Pres. Biden's August 2022 executive order, in response to the SCOTUS decision, aimed at protecting access to reproductive healthcare services.

Sources: Washington Post, New York Times, FDA, Reuters, and White House.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by American Spectator. This move endangers women with its dishonesty over the risks of abortion pills, which have led to at least 3k women suffering complications and 28 deaths since their approval, and provides no protection to unborn children who may survive. The Biden administration's pro-abortion extremism will further allow retail pharmacies to funnel abortion pills into states where abortion is banned — an act that undercuts the Supreme Court's verdict.
  • Left narrative, as provided by New York Times. The benefits of mifepristone far outweigh the risks, and this decision could change the conversation about abortion. As a step in the right direction for health equity, the regulatory change will empower patients across a broad spectrum, including people of color, immigrants, rural populations, and teenagers. Access to abortion pills isn't a magic solution to the end of abortion rights, but it can blunt the fallout.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Politico. While the move paves a way to ensure women's legal access to abortion isn't entirely shut off, the question remains — can US states block the use of abortion pills even though they are FDA approved? The ball is in the retail pharmacies' court, which will now have to weigh whether or not to offer the drug following federal and state laws given the political controversy surrounding abortion.

Predictions