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Research shows abortion pills by mail are safe and effective

After an in-person assessment by a clinician, patients who received mifepristone and misoprostol dispensed by a mail-order pharmacy were satisfied with the privacy and convenience of the delivery method, and results showed it was just as safe and effective as in-person dispensing. These study results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which analyzed the experiences of more than 500 people who received medication abortion with the pills dispensed by a mail-order pharmacy.

Findings: Mail-order Pharmacy Dispensing for Medication Abortion Is Safe

Nearly 98% of patients in the study had complete abortions with no adverse events related to mail-order dispensing.
More than 85% of the participants received the medication within one to three days, a timeframe that 94% of the participants described as reasonable.
96.6% said they were satisfied with mail-order dispensing and almost all said their confidentiality was maintained through the shipping and delivery process.

Implications: Findings Support FDA Recommendations for Mifepristone

This study adds to the substantial body of evidence supporting the FDA’s decision to remove the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, even as the Supreme Court of the United States considers restricting this method. ANSIRH’s prior research found that the number of obstetrician-gynecologists willing to provide medication abortion could double if they could prescribe the pills for their patients, which could then be obtained in a pharmacy.

Results demonstrate a mail-order pharmacy is a feasible way to dispense medication abortion pills and expand the number of abortion providers, particularly in areas that may have fewer clinics providing the service due to abortion restrictions. In addition, mail-order pharmacies are an important component in providing direct-to-patient telehealth medication abortion.

The researchers write:

“With the severe restrictions on abortion care imposed since the Dobbs decision, pharmacy dispensing of mifepristone has an important role to play in improving access. For both patients in states where abortion remains legal and those in states with restrictions who must travel for services, expanded access to medication abortion may reduce delays to care and congestion at abortion clinics where procedural abortion is provided.”

The article, Mail-Order Pharmacy Dispensing of Mifepristone for Medication Abortion After In-Person Screening, is available in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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