July 23rd, 2024

Abortion drug now free to all Alberta women at no charge

By Gillian Slade on July 25, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

A medical abortion drug, mifegymiso, is now available to all Alberta women at no cost to them, the provincial government announced Monday.

Alberta is the second province in Canada to introduce universal coverage for mifegymiso, the government stated in a press release.

“Women’s reproductive options should not be determined by their income or where they live. For far too long, women in rural communities have had to travel to major urban centres to receive a surgical abortion. By providing universal coverage for Mifegymiso, we’re supporting greater choice for women when it comes to their reproductive health,” said Sarah Hoffman, minister of health in a statement.

Mifegymiso may be used to terminate a pregnancy up to 49 days after conception, the press release states. The manufacturer is seeking an extension of the drug’s approved use to include medically terminating a pregnancy of up to 63 days after conception. Before taking the drug, women must undergo an ultrasound to rule out potential health risks and to determine the age of gestation.

Friends of Medicare applauded the government’s announcement.

“This is a great step to take to improve access to reproductive health care. We are hoping to hear plans to have providers appropriately trained on prescribing the pill, and ensuring that women using mifegymiso in all communities have the proper supports during treatment,” said said Sandra Azocar, executive director for Friends of Medicare in a statement.

Health Canada approved mifegymiso in July 2015. It became available in Canada in January 2017 at a cost of approximately $300. It was recommended for public drug plan coverage by the Common Drug Review spring this year. Under Health Canada approval, physicians should complete a training program before prescribing Mifegymiso. Any pharmacist can then dispense it.

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