CULVER CITY, CALIF. — Honeybee Health, the accredited online pharmacy that sells generic medications without the need for insurance, announced it is the first pharmacy in the U.S. to ship abortion pills to patients across the country during COVID-19. The treatment consists of two different prescription pills taken in succession: mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills, approved by the FDA in 2000, can safely terminate an early pregnancy of up to 10 weeks. In 2017, medication abortions–previously provided exclusively in the presence of a prescribing clinician–accounted for 39 percent of all abortions.
“This is a momentous achievement for Americans, particularly for women of color and others who historically faced barriers to reproductive healthcare that are made even worse by COVID-19,” said Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, co-founder, co-CEO, and lead pharmacist of Honeybee Health. “As a pharmacy, we believe everyone has the right to choose whether or not an abortion is right for them. We’re deeply honored to be part of the pioneering group of medical professionals who are bringing increased access to safe abortion pills across the country.”
Honeybee Health’s announcement comes a few months after a federal injunction from U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland that stipulates patients can receive the abortion pills via mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to his ruling, pregnant women seeking medication abortions were required to visit a hospital, clinic, or medical office before receiving mifepristone, the first medication that is administered.
Patients who wish to terminate an early pregnancy must consult with a certified clinician to ensure they qualify for treatment (many clinicians offer this consultation entirely through telemedicine). From there, the prescriber can send the prescription directly to Honeybee Health. A trained pharmacist will then process and ship the medication in addition to providing further guidance during the process to the patient. Honeybee Health does not prescribe the medications and does not technically sell mifepristone; rather, the pharmacy stores and distributes the medication to patients only for certified prescribers.
“It’s critical that women be able to access abortion pills via mail during COVID-19, but we also believe that receiving the medication through mail is the way forward,” continued Dr. Nouhavandi. “Abortion pills are extremely safe, effective, and widely used in other countries without the kind of political scrutiny we see in America. We hope that by shipping abortion pills now during COVID-19, we increase access for the years to come.”
The real-life application of the ruling will vary state by state based on the differing abortion laws and only extends to patients during the COVID-19 health crisis. Additionally, in the coming weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the injunction.
In addition to mifepristone and misoprostol, Honeybee Health also carries over 6,000 medications for common medical conditions and treatments such as birth control, STI/STD medications, hormone replacement therapy, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and others.
Honeybee Health does not accept insurance and is often able to offer customers prices lower than most copays or coinsurance. These low prices are possible because the pharmacy purchases directly from wholesale distributors, allowing them to cut out middlemen and find the lowest price possible for every drug.
Honeybee Health was founded in 2017 by Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi and Peter Wang. If you are a clinician who would like to partner with Honeybee Health to provide abortion pills or for more about Honeybee Health, visit www.honeybeehealth.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
ABOUT HONEYBEE HEALTH
Honeybee Health is an online pharmacy that provides low-cost, high-quality generic prescription medications without the need for insurance. We buy from FDA-approved, U.S. wholesalers and cut out the middlemen–like insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers–to offer generic medications up to 80 percent less than what traditional pharmacies charge. Honeybee Health currently operates in 41 states and territories and serves tens of thousands of patients nationwide. For more about Honeybee Health, visit www.honeybeehealth.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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