Philly.com: Online supplier of abortion pills defies FDA order to stop providing them in U.S.

by Marie McCullough

..Aid Access resumed service the next day.

The FDA declined to discuss its next step. “We cannot comment on a potential future action at this time,” the agency emailed, “but we remain very concerned about the sale of unapproved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy on the Internet, because this bypasses important safeguards designed to protect women’s health.”

The abortion-pill regimen, which is effective through the first nine weeks of pregnancy, actually involves two drugs. Mifepristone, sold in the U.S. by Danco Laboratories and branded Mifeprex, disrupts the pregnancy, then misoprostol triggers uterine contractions and expulsion of the grape-size fetus.

The FDA requires women who want the regimen to make two visits to the doctor, and they can’t get mifepristone from pharmacies. It can only be dispensed in clinics or medical offices by specially certified health-care providers.

Aid Access, in contrast, provides pills after a woman consults online with the prescribing doctor and gets a blood test. She receives instructions for taking the drugs, what to expect, and when to see a doctor if a problem occurs.

Numerous other international websites ship abortion pills — without prescription or any medical oversight. That’s why a group of researchers who support abortion rights created Plan C, a website with a “report card” that rates such websites on product quality, price, and shipping time.

"The combination of very safe and effective medication abortion, and the pervasiveness of global commerce, make Internet access virtually unstoppable,” said public health researcher Elisa Wells, codirector of Plan C.

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