Edward Rickert Shares Perspective on Cross-Border Jurisdiction Issues Following Abortion Ruling in Part B News Article

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Edward Rickert, a Health & Life Sciences partner in the Quarles & Brady Chicago office, shared his opinion on cross-border jurisdiction issues and potential consequences from patients using telepharmacies following the overturn of Roe in a Part B News article.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 has raised a lot of questions and uncertainty for both patients and providers. One of the main concerns is around patients who live in states where abortion is illegal traveling to or seeking assistance from providers in states where it remains legal. Doing more than consulting patients on the procedure can put these providers in risk of losing their license and legal consequences from law enforcement, which is why this has become a serious concern for many.

One cross-border issue is telehealth. Because of evolving state laws and the Interstate Licensure Compact, many providers in legal-abortion states may consult with patients in states where it is not legal and may be licensed and in a position to tele-prescribe abortion medications.

In an excerpt from the article, Rickert specifically addresses potential roadblocks to accessing abortion medications via telehealth, including the ability to obtain the medication following the telemedicine consultation, from either a brick and mortar or mail order pharmacy:

Edward D. Rickert, a partner with the Quarles & Brady law firm in Chicago, believes a case could be made that telemedicine is not different from “traveling to a provider’s state, or traveling to a state where the pharmacy is located versus having that pharmacy mail the medication to you in order to access the legally prescribed drug.” Such actions could be interpreted as protected under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Nonetheless, he acknowledges, “if a physician is practicing or the pharmacy provider is located in a state where abortion is legal and the patient reaches out [from an abortion-illegal state] to that provider, that can present some legal challenges.”

Experts remind providers that in such arrangements they are, arguably, still bound by their licensing arrangement in the patient’s state.

“It is important to keep in mind that a telemedicine appointment to access a provider to prescribe an abortion medication is only half the equation,” Rickert says. “If the patient receives a prescription and lives in a state where abortion is illegal, the patient will need a pharmacy that is willing and able to dispense the medication.”

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