FDA reverses restrictions on prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine

The FDA is lifting restrictions on dispensing abortion pills by the mail, reversing a long-standing policy that they must be given to patients in person, according to an April 12 Politico article.

In a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on April 12, acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, said the FDA concluded allowing patients to receive the abortion drug mifepristone through telemedicine and through the mail will not increase risks, but will keep physicians and patients safe from contracting COVID-19.

The decision follows legal battles with the Supreme Court and the Trump and Biden administrations, including a lawsuit from the ACOG. Abortion providers were temporarily allowed to dispense mifepristone remotely in 2020, but the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to reinstate the in-person dispensing requirement in January.

ACOG CEO Maureen Phipps, MD, said on April 14 that lifting the restrictions means "those in need of an abortion or miscarriage management will be able to do so safely and effectively by acquiring mifepristone though the mail — just as they would any other medication with a similarly strong safety profile."

The lift is currently only during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is unclear how the restrictions will play out after the pandemic is over.


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