Health Canada eases restrictions on abortion pill

Posted on May, 19 2017 by Action Canada

Health Canada has lifted two of the restrictions it had in place for Mifegymiso, a two-drug combination known as the abortion pill, advocates say

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights said Thursday it welcomed Health Canada’s announcement it was no longer requiring pharmacists to complete a mandatory training program before being able to dispense the drug.

“Having pharmacists complete a mandatory training program for every new drug that comes on the market is onerous and is ultimately defeating when it comes to having pharmacists actually stock and ultimately dispense that drug,” Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights said.

He explained he hoped this change would mean women would have more access to the drug, especially those living in remote areas.

Health Canada also recognized that provincial and territorial colleges have the right to determine the drug’s distribution systems within their jurisdictions.

Practically this means pharmacists are allowed to dispense the drug directly to patients, instead of having to send it back to the doctor who prescribed it. Ontario and B.C. had already advised Health Canada that its regulations did not allow doctors to dispense medicine.

Prasad that while his organization was pleased with the news, they would continue to push for other barriers to come down, including that the drug is only approved for use up to seven weeks in Canada, while studies have shown it can be safely taken up to 10 weeks.