Statement from Healthcare Ready on the decision to suspend FDA approval of Mifepristone in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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Washington, April 12, 2023  — In a ruling that could have extensive implications for healthcare access and equity, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction that would undo the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the drug mifepristone as part of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration case.

The drug was approved by the FDA in 2000 and has been used safely and effectively in the 23 years since. For comparison, penicillin (a common antibiotic) has a four times greater risk of death than mifepristone, and the risk of death by Viagra is almost 10 times greater. In contrast, taken as directed, mifepristone has a 0.4% risk of major complications and an associated mortality rate of less than 0.001%.

Lack of access to safe, self-managed abortion options will exacerbate existing healthcare gaps, particularly for communities in rural environments, communities of color, communities with high poverty rates, communities with high rates of uninsured and underinsured residents, and communities with too few primary care and abortion providers. “Healthcare Ready unequivocally stands by the FDA’s evaluation of mifepristone,” says Tom Cotter, MPH, executive director of Healthcare Ready. “Undermining the FDA sets a dangerous precedent that could hinder new treatments and therapies reaching those who need them.”

Additionally, access to mifepristone has widespread implications for health equity. Among people who can get pregnant in regions where legal restrictions on mifepristone have previously been enacted, those who were younger, Black, less educated, and in lower socioeconomic groups experienced reduced access. “Health equity is a core tenet of our mission,” says Lily Scheindlin, research specialist at Healthcare Ready. “Studies have shown that people who have been denied abortion access suffer worse economic and financial hardships: They can experience a 78% increase in the amount of debt they have in 30 days and an 81% increase in negative public records on their credit reports. Combined, these factors create intense financial distress, destabilize individuals and families, and deepen existing inequities.”

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About Healthcare Ready
Healthcare Ready is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to building resilient communities that are prepared for, can respond to, and can recover from disasters and disease outbreaks. Based in Washington D.C., Healthcare Ready brings together a wide network of partners from the private and public sectors to strengthen healthcare infrastructures, coordinate emergency responses in times of crisis, and fortify supply chains to ensure continuity of care for communities across the country.