October 6, 2016
Fredericton (GNB) – The New Brunswick Women’s Council is advising government and the public that action is required in order to ensure that Mifegymiso is accessible to New Brunswickers once it comes on the market.
Mifegymiso is a two-part drug protocol used to terminate pregnancy; this process is called medical abortion. Mifegymiso is a safe and reliable alternative to surgical abortion and is widely used throughout the world under different brand names. The drug was approved by Health Canada in July 2015 and has not yet become available in Canada.
“Medical abortion has the potential to improve abortion access in New Brunswick,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard. “However, the $300 cost of this drug will effectively make it completely inaccessible for many New Brunswickers.”
The council has advised government that listing Mifegymiso on provincial formularies for hospitals and drug plans would significantly improve the drug’s accessibility. The council has also advised government to address other potential barriers to medical abortion. This would include ensuring patients have timely access to ultrasounds and establishing a unique code for physicians to use when billing medical abortion services to Medicare.
“There are significant training requirements and guidelines attached to Mifegymiso by Health Canada which may deter physicians from offering medical abortions,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “If physicians know that billing for medical abortion will be straightforward and equitable, it may encourage them to invest their time into offering the service.”
The council has emphasized to government that decision-making on abortion access cannot be based strictly on whether existing access meets the current volume of demand. Because abortion services must be accessed within a specific time frame, are often sought under difficult circumstances, and involve heightened privacy concerns for patients, it is critical that New Brunswickers have multiple options for access.
The council is New Brunswick’s independent advisory body on women’s equality issues. It is mandated to bring issues of importance to women and their substantive equality to the attention of government and the public and to provide independent advice to the government on such issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, Voices of NB Women Consensus-Building Forum [email protected] Tel. 506-462-5142