The abortion pill, RU-486, has been approved by Health Canada. The chief Canadian health body said on Wednesday that it has now informed the manufacturer of RU-486, Linepharma International Limited, that the product can now be legally sold in the country.
Also called mifepristone and to be marketed under the brand name Mifegymiso, the drug was officially approved on Monday.
Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose had little to say about the approval, which is well behind countries such as France – where it was invented – and Britain, which each approved the drug 25 years ago; the U.S. approved it 15 years ago.
In an email to the Canadian Press, Ambrose wrote that “Drug approval decisions are arms-length decisions made by Health Canada officials based on analysis by Health Canada scientists.” That implies neither she nor her office was involved in the decision to finally allow the abortion pill into Canada.
Many of the 60 countries that already allow the abortion pill to be dispensed permit pharmacists to dispense it, without the need of a doctor’s prescription. However, that will not be the case in Canada, where a woman will have to see her physician and obtain a prescription for the drug.
It is considered safe and within 70 days of conception effective in terminating a pregnancy. It does so by blocking progesterone, without which a pregnancy cannot be maintained.
The president of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), Vicki Saporta, said that at last Canadian women will have access to what many health experts believe to be the safest means of abortion. Some 100,000 women each year have an abortion in Canada, most doing so via a surgical procedure.
RU-486 may be on the market as early as the Spring of 2016.