Dispensing Abortifacients Drugs In Changing Times

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organizationopens PDF file , overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey. The ruling means laws regarding abortion revert back to the states. As practitioners who may encounter prescriptions for medication abortion that you understand the law and how it applies in your state. Some of you may not have any changes to your practice based on state law. Still, other practitioners may be required to provide additional documentation on prescriptions dispensed or even turn patients away who are requesting these medications for the purpose of abortion.

Studies show that since the pandemic, medication abortions have risen to 54% of all abortions. Also, the FDA removed the requirement for the medications to be provided in the physician's office. This has put pharmacists on the front lines of providing abortifacients. Because of this, you need to be aware of your state's requirements. Even though the FDA has removed the above requirement, 19 states require that abortions are performed in a hospital after a certain point in pregnancy. This could be as soon as 14 weeks. If you choose to decline to dispense these medications based on personal beliefs, ensure you are following your state's rules to find another provider for the patient if the medication is allowed. Forty-five states allow individual practitioners to refuse to participate, but fewer states allow institutions to refuse to participate.

As pharmacy providers, you may encounter patients and physicians crossing state lines to acquire or provide medications when they are not allowed in their home state. You may also have patients asking you to mail medications to another state. If you are mailing prescriptions to another state, you need to verify if you need to be licensed as a non-resident pharmacy in that state. You also need to verify if that out-of-state prescription is valid in your state. We cannot provide you with specific rules based on all 50 states, but we can tell you that there is variation among the states. Eighteen states mandate counseling prior to performing an abortion. Some states specifically require counseling on fetal pain or negative psychological effects, for example. Twenty-five states require a waiting period after the counseling session ranging from 18 hours to 72 hours. You should review your state law and contact the board of pharmacy or a lawyer in your area for clarification. You will need to expand your review if you are considering dispensing to out-of-state patients or providers.