USA – Washington state attorney general says FDA rules on mifepristone are unreasonable

by Michel Martin, Gurjit Kaur

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (above) says he is suing the US Food and Drug Administration because the restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone are “entirely unreasonable and not medically necessary.”

Ferguson, who spoke with National Public Radio’s programme “All Things Considered” on 25 February, is one of a dozen Democratic attorneys general who filed a lawsuit accusing the federal agency of excessively regulating the medication.

Mifepristone is typically used in combination with misoprostol to induce abortion in the first trimester. Ferguson says it is one of just 60 drugs — out of more than 20,000 medications approved by the FDA — to have extra restrictions that make the drug difficult to prescribe and dispense.

Ferguson said that while the FDA has not added any new restrictions on the medication since the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, overturning the right to an abortion, the options for Americans seeking a safe abortion have grown limited across the country.

To give you an example, pharmacies must be specially certified in order to provide this medication. We filed this lawsuit in eastern Washington. As an example, Washington State University, the pharmacy there on campus is not certified to provide this medication because it’s a hassle for them. It’s administratively difficult. Why are we putting these pharmacies through this burdensome process for a medication that is perfectly safe and literally safer than Tylenol? It makes no medical sense.

Study after study demonstrates that this medication is safe. Obviously anything you put in your body inherently has some risk. There is evidence that this medication is as safe or safer than using Viagra. Viagra does not have these limitations. Why do they have it for a product that women would utilize?

Ferguson also said the lawsuit serves as a counter-measure to a case before a Texas judge, who could soon rule to cut off access nationwide to the abortion pill. “What the plaintiffs in that case are asking from that very conservative judge is to put a national injunction in place, saying that mifepristone should not be available to anybody in the United States anywhere,” Ferguson told NPR’s Michel Martin. “So our view is, while that case is going on, we have filed a case that takes the opposite position: that actually mifepristone should be expanded in terms of its access.”

SOURCE: National Public Radio, 25 February 2023 ; PHOTO: Ted S Warren/AP