National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Company announces delay in availability of medication abortion drug in Canada

A drug used in medication abortion is not expected to become available in Canada until early next year, Canadian Press/CTV reports (Szklarski, Canadian Press/CTV, 11/28).

Background

In July 2015, Health Canada, the country's health agency, approved mifepristone, one of the drugs involved in a medication abortion, for use in the country. The approval aligned Canada with roughly 60 other countries where mifepristone has been legal for some time.

In Canada, mifepristone is also referred to by the brand name Mifegymiso. The drug is approved for use through 49 days of pregnancy. The drug had been scheduled to be available via physician prescription as of July 1 (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/5).

Latest developments

Celopharma, the company that distributes Mifegymiso, recently updated its projection of when the drug will be available, delaying the release date to January 2017. Paula Tenenbaum, president of Celopharma, attributed the delay to "a change in manufacturing site."

Tenenbaum added that the company hopes to receive a response from Health Canada "some time [in] late December" about the company's updated application seeking to expand the use of Mifegymiso through nine weeks of pregnancy.

A spokesperson for Health Canada said the agency does not share details about the status of pending drug approval applications, but she noted that it "firmly supports a woman's right to choose" (Canadian Press/CTV, 11/28).