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Drug is at the heart of abortion discussion | Peninsula Daily News appeared on www.peninsuladailynews.com by Peninsula Daily News.
PORT ANGELES — A drug at the heart of a nationwide debate over abortion is available in Port Angeles, although the medication’s future is the subject of a pending U.S. Supreme Court case.
Earlier this month, Jim’s Pharmacy in Port Angeles became the only pharmacy in Washington state where mifepristone is available, but only through a certified prescriber.
“It’s not over the counter. It’s more complicated than even just a regular prescription,” said Joe Cammack, owner of Jim’s Pharmacy.
Cammack said the pharmacy acquired stocks of the drug following a request from a local health care provider and that prescriptions for the drug have been filled only once or twice.
Only certified pharmacies are allowed to distribute the drug, Cammack said, and health care providers need their own separate certification to prescribe it. Acquiring certification to distribute mifepristone required a significant amount of paperwork, Cammack said.
Earlier this month, several news outlets reported that Jim’s Pharmacy announced it was carrying the drug with some stating mifepristone was available over the counter. However, Jim’s did not make a public announcement about the drug; its name was included on a list of certified pharmacies published by mifepristone’s manufacturer, GenBioPro.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, mifepristone blocks a hormone called progesterone needed for a pregnancy to continue.
“Mifepristone, when used together with another medicine called misoprostol — which also is prescribed for ulcer treatment — is used to end a pregnancy through 10 weeks gestation, or 70 days or less since the first day of the last menstrual period,” FDA said.
The drug was first approved in 2000, but following the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, mifepristone has been the subject of several federal court cases and its future availability is in question, even in states like Washington, where abortion remains legal.
According to The Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case concerning mifepristone early next year.
In March, a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling questioning the FDA’s original approval of mifepristone in 2000 on the same day a federal judge in Washington issued an order to U.S. authorities not to make any changes to the drug’s availability.
According to Reuters News Agency, medication abortions involving drugs like mifepristone account for more than half of all U.S. abortions.
Should the case against the FDA’s approval of mifepristone prove successful, it could put at risk the agency’s authority to approve the safety of other food products, drugs and medical devices, Reuters said.
Washington state is at the forefront of the effort to preserve access to abortion, with Attorney General Bob Ferguson — currently running for governor — co-leading a multi-state lawsuit against the FDA to ensure continued access to mifepristone.
In April, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state had purchased a three-year supply of mifepristone costing the state about $1.28 million, AP reported, or $42.50 per pill for 30,000 pills. Inslee has also instructed the Washington State Patrol not to cooperate with out-of-state abortion investigations.
Abortion was made legal in Washington by public referendum in 1970, three years before the Roe v. Wade decision.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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