FDA allows retail pharmacies to offer abortion pill

Photo by Robin Marty. Used under Creative Commons

On Monday, Jan. 3, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed retail pharmacies to offer mifepristone, a medication used for abortions.

The FDA updated its drug safety guidance for mifepristone, including who can offer it. Under the guidance, the medication does still need to be prescribed by a physician. But certified pharmacies can now fill out prescriptions for it. Previously, it could only be dispensed in health care provider offices.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) welcomed the news.

“We’ve known for years that medication abortion care is overwhelmingly safe and effective,” said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of PPIL. “The FDA’s announcement is another step in the right direction for health equity.”

Welch said that PPIL started mailing abortion medication to patients with Illinois addresses in April 2022. With the rule change they can go to a local pharmacy. However, residents of states where abortion is banned or restricted would still need to get their medication either at a health center or sent to an Illinois address.