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White House touts abortion pill as answer to Roe reversal but FDA rules limit use

The Biden administration says it’s taking steps to increase access to medication abortion in response to the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, but some of the administration’s own policies stand in the way of people trying to get the drug.

Mifepristone, the drug known as the abortion pill, has been approved in the U.S. for more than 20 years and has been shown to be safer than commonly used drugs like Tylenol. But federal regulations strictly limit the circumstances under which patients can get it.

While the administration last year loosened some rules on prescribers, it added new hurdles for pharmacies to dispense abortion pills. Several states have regulations on top of that, limiting who can prescribe it or requiring people to attend in-person doctor’s appointments to get the pill.

The White House quickly pointed to the abortion pill as an answer to the post-Roe world in which some 33 million women could lose access to procedures in their home states. President Joe Biden ordered his health officials “to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone is as widely accessible as possible,” according to a White House statement.

—Bloomberg News

 

Patient given pig heart transplant died of heart failure, study finds

BALTIMORE — Doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have concluded that a man who received a first-of-its-kind pig-heart transplant in January died two months later from heart failure. Though the reason for the failure remains under investigation.

The man, David Bennett, was able to get out of bed, begin rehabilitation and spend time with his family in the weeks after the transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center. His doctors say that makes the effort a success.

All the subsequent information gathered will be applied when they are ready for the next so-called xenotransplant patient. That includes clues about how to prevent issues that may have contributed to the heart failure, including a reaction to a drug aimed at preventing rejection.

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