Pharmacist Resources

Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000 and has become the most common method of abortion. In 2007 the FDA placed a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) on the medication abortion drug combination of mifepristone (Mifeprex; RU486) and misoprostol (Cytotec), requiring in-clinic dispensing and ingestion. Due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the FDA temporarily removed the in-clinic requirements, opening the door for telehealth prescribing and online or retail dispensing of the drugs for medication abortion care. In December 2021, the FDA announced they would make a permanent change to the REMS and removed the in-clinic requirements. The finalized mifepristone REMS was released on January 3, 2023, allowing for certified prescribers to send prescriptions to certified pharmacies. Certified prescribers currently dispensing mifepristone in their clinics may continue to do so. The updated REMS will now allow brick-and-mortar, mail-order, online, local, and chain pharmacies to seek certification to stock and dispense mifepristone.

The combination of mifepristone and misoprostol for medication abortion is incredibly safe. Since 2000, more than 4.9 million patients have had a medication abortion, with less than 0.5% resulting in adverse outcomes, making it safer than several over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen and other prescriptions like Viagra or Accutane. The COVID-19 Pandemic has fast-tracked the utilization of medication abortion care. Today, more than 54% of all abortions in the U.S. are administered by medication.