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December 20, 2021

Around the nation: FDA permanently lifts in-person requirement for abortion pill

Daily Briefing

    FDA on Thursday permanently dissolved a long-standing restriction that required the abortion pill to be dispensed in person, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New York.

    • District of Columbia: HHS last week announced George Chambers will take over as the agency's acting CIO, effective Jan. 1, 2022. He will succeed Janet Vogel, who became acting CIO in June, after she retires at the end of the year. Throughout his career, Chambers has held multiple IT leadership positions in the federal government. He joined HHS in 2014 and most recently served as executive director within the Office of Application and Platform Solutions. As HHS' acting CIO, Chambers will help modernize the agency's legacy IT systems. (Drees, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/16)
    • Maryland: FDA on Thursday lifted a long-standing restriction that required in-person pickup for the abortion pill—a rule that medical societies, including the American Medical Association, have argued poses no real benefit to patients. This decision comes after FDA earlier this year stopped enforcing the in-person requirement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Agency officials said a scientific review provided supporting evidence for expanded access and distribution of the medication, allowing more traditional pharmacies and mail-order services to distribute the abortion pill. However, only doctors with a special certification will be allowed to prescribe the medication, and dispensing pharmacies must be registered with the FDA. (AP/Modern Healthcare, 12/16)
    • New York: U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on Thursday blocked a $4.5 billion bankruptcy settlement between Purdue Pharma and thousands of state, local, and tribal governments who sued the pharmaceutical company over its role in the opioid epidemic. McMahon ruled against the settlement on the grounds that the court didn't possess the legal authority to release the Sackler family from liability in the civil cases. According to McMahon, "[t]he great unsettled question in this case is whether the bankruptcy court—or any court—is statutorily authorized to grant such releases." (Frazier, Axios, 12/17)

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