ANSIRH Study Shows Dispensing Medication Abortion Pills at Pharmacy is Safe, Effective, and Satisfying to Patients

Share Article

Over 90% of patients were satisfied with the pharmacy experience

“Pharmacists play a critical role in health care delivery. This study shows that they can safely and effectively dispense mifepristone, and that removing or modifying the REMS to allow for this provision would eliminate a significant barrier to care,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman.

A new study by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), documents the safety, efficacy, and patient satisfaction of medication abortion with mifepristone dispensed by pharmacists. As states push legislation to further restrict abortion care in clinics and hospitals, medication abortion through pharmacy dispensing could increase access where these other options are less available.

The study, led by ANSIRH Director Dr. Daniel Grossman, was published in the April issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology and shows that a vast majority of patients had complete medication abortions with pharmacist dispensing, were satisfied with the pharmacy experience, and were satisfied with their abortion care experience.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that mifepristone only be dispensed by certified healthcare providers - in clinics, medical offices, or hospitals. The FDA imposed these restrictions when the drug was first approved in 2000, and they are currently codified in the drug’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the REMS, the FDA prohibited retail pharmacies from dispensing mifepristone. Despite mifepristone’s strong safety record, these restrictions remain in place over two decades later.

“Pharmacists play a critical role in health care delivery. This study shows that they can safely and effectively dispense mifepristone, and that removing or modifying the REMS to allow for this provision would eliminate a significant barrier to care,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman.

In this study, patients were first seen in clinic and then stopped by a nearby pharmacy to pick up their abortion pill and other medicines. Patients picked up the medications at the pharmacy from trained pharmacists and took the medications at home. They received standard follow-up care with the clinic afterward. Findings show:

  • 93.5% of patients had complete medication abortions with pharmacist dispensing;
  • 91.3% of patients reported satisfaction with the pharmacy experience; and
  • 84.4% of patients reported satisfaction with the medication abortion care experience.

In several countries, including Australia and Canada, pharmacists already dispense mifepristone on prescription. Making mifepristone available through pharmacies can improve abortion access – especially in rural or other areas where abortion providers and clinics are remote or unavailable.

Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), based at the University of California, San Francisco, conducts rigorous scientific research on complex issues related to reproductive health in the United States and internationally. ANSIRH provides much-needed evidence for active policy debates and legal battles around reproductive health issues. Please visit http://www.ansirh.org.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print