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Ohio is one of 20 states warning major pharmacies against selling abortion pills

closeup of a pharmacist holding a box of medicine at a pharmacy or drug store
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closeup of a pharmacist holding a box of medicine at a pharmacy or drug store

Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, is one of 20 attorneys general nationwide putting pressure on two major pharmacies to not dispense pills that are commonly used in abortions.

Recently, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will make a pandemic era change permanent by allowing more pharmacies, including large chains and mail-order companies, to dispense those drugs.

But this federal change won't likely have any impact on people seeking those drugs here in Ohio.

Under the rule change, women could get a prescription via telehealth consultation with a health professional, and then receive the pills through the mail, where permitted by law.

Mike Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life president, noted Ohio women seeking abortions are required, by state law, to go to a doctor or clinic in person to get a prescription for the drugs.

"Ohio requires a woman to visit, in person, with a physician prior to being administered RU 486 (Mifepristone) or other abortifacients," Gonidakis said.

Jaime Miracle, Pro-Choice Ohio deputy director, agreed this federal change won't impact Ohio women.

"Unfortunately, yes, once again politics trumps science in Ohio and will not be able to benefit directly from this FDA change," Miracle said.

Legislationthat was originally passed in Ohio nearly 20 years ago prevents anyone other than a doctor from providing abortion-inducing drugs in Ohio.

Because of those restrictions, it's doubtful pharmacies here in Ohio will carry the drug.

Amy Thibault, lead director of external communications for CVS Pharmacy, said in a written statement, "We’re reviewing the FDA’s updated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) drug safety program for mifepristone to determine the requirements to dispense in states that do not restrict the dispensing of medications prescribed for elective termination of pregnancy."

Walgreens did not respond to a question about whether it had planned to dispense the drugs here in Ohio.

With no pharmacies in Ohio dispensing the drugs, and state legislation in place that makes legality of doing that questionable, why would Ohio's attorney general, Dave Yost, sign on to the letter?

His office has not responded with an answer to that question. But Gonidakis said it's a good idea.

"Doing this just allows an extra level of clarity to these companies from the attorney generals and it's free legal advice," Gonidakis said.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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