According to a new rule change by the Biden administration, retail pharmacies in the US can now dispense the abortion drug mifepristone.
Mifepristone is currently only available in person from a medical professional as one of a two-drug regimen that is safe and effective for causing an abortion.
The new regulation still calls for a prescription, but patients can now pick up the medication in-person or via mail.
The action may greatly increase the number of women who can seek medical abortions.
After the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion last year, demand for abortion pills increased as a result of some states outlawing or severely restricting access to the procedure.
According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, more than half of abortions performed in the US are currently performed through pill rather than surgical procedure.
As part of its pandemic-driven shift toward telemedicine, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had announced in December 2021 that it will permanently remove the necessity for individuals to receive a prescription in person from a healthcare professional.
The FDA added the new restrictions to its website on Tuesday, stating that the medication “may be dispensed by licensed pharmacies or by or under the supervision of a registered prescriber.”