Action Canada Welcomes Health Canada Starting to Ease Abortion Drug Restrictions

18 May 2017
For immediate release

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights welcomes Health Canada’s announcement to lift two of the restrictions that continue to stand in the way of rolling out the newly available abortion drug Mifegymiso, the Canadian brand name for the combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

Health Canada confirmed this morning that it is no longer requiring pharmacists to complete a previously mandatory training program, an unusual measure for the dispensing of drugs. The announcement also highlights that Provincial and Territorial colleges can determine distribution systems.

“Dropping the training requirement will inevitably lead to an increase in pharmacies stocking and dispensing Mifegymiso,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that, “Mifegymiso has the potential to close the geographical gaps in access to abortion in Canada. The more uptake we see, the more likely it is people in remote areas will finally have access.”

Mifegymiso’s distribution faced several roadblocks and only hit the Canadian market in 2017. The wait period can be attributed in part to the need to accommodate some of the restrictions Health Canada included in its approval of the drug. Restrictions have been publicly criticized by physicians, colleges of pharmacists, researchers, activists, stakeholders and sexual and reproductive rights organizations, including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights will continue to push for the complete lifting of further barriers that restrict distribution as well as universal cost coverage for all people in Canada.

Today’s announcement does not include an increase in gestational limit. While Mifegymiso can be safely taken up to 10-weeks gestation, Health Canada has restricted its use to 7-weeks. People choose to end pregnancies for many different reasons. They need real access to safely carry out the decision they have made.

Three decades have passed since abortion was decriminalized in Canada but the country significantly lags in access to abortion (medical and surgical). Mifegymiso has been safely used for decades and is available in up to 60 countries worldwide. Continued advocacy for better access matters.
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Media Contact

Ani Colekessian
Communications Officer
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
613-241-4474 ext. 7

Posted on 2017-05-18
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