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AHCA reminds Florida pharmacies that dispensing abortion pills is against state law

AP (file)

In the wake of an FDA decision that allows pharmacies to stock the medication, the Florida agency warned providers that “criminal penalties” could result over violations.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has sent a reminder to providers that despite a federal decision to broaden abortion pill access at pharmacies, state law bans it.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration officially said it would allow certified retail pharmacies to stock and dispense the drugs. National chains Walgreens and CVS said they would seek certification where allowed.

In Florida, however, patients are not allowed to pick up the pills at a pharmacy or have them mailed. Instead, they must schedule two appointments with a doctor at a licensed facility and obtain the two-pill protocol from the doctor. The first pill must be taken in front of the doctor.

This past week, AHCA sent an email to Florida providers to alert them about compliance, specifying that “criminal penalties” could result over violations and that the state would refer evidence to law enforcement.

Following last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Florida Legislature voted to restrict abortion after 15 weeks, with few exceptions.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks state laws and policies surrounding abortion, 29 states require physicians to administer medication abortions.

Health News Florida reporter Cathy Carter contributed to this report.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.