April 5, 2017
Fredericton (GNB) – The New Brunswick Women’s Council applauds the Government of New Brunswick’s commitment to create a program that will provide Mifegymiso free of charge to New Brunswickers with a valid Medicare card.
Mifegymiso, also known as RU-486, is a two-drug regimen used for medical (non-surgical) abortion within the first seven weeks of pregnancy. It is currently priced at $300 by its distributor. It must be prescribed by a physician and the patient must have an ultrasound before it is taken to confirm gestational age and ensure the pregnancy is not ectopic. Physicians and pharmacists must take an online course before prescribing or dispensing Mifegymiso.
“We are pleased that New Brunswick is leading the country in implementing measures to ensure cost is not a barrier for individuals looking to access medical abortion,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard.
In a meeting with the council yesterday, Minister of Health Victor Boudreau confirmed that government does not intend for the program to require a co-pay or an upfront purchase with reimbursement offered later. The council recommended that government identify and address potential gaps in coverage during program development, including coverage for newcomers and students from other provinces and territories who may not have Medicare cards.
Minister Boudreau also confirmed that physicians will be able to prioritize ultrasounds for patients seeking to use Mifegymiso. Physicians will be able to appropriately bill Medicare for the consultation time spent providing Mifegismiso related care to patients.
“The next step on this issue is ensuring that New Brunswickers can obtain and fill a prescription for this publicly-funded drug,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “We hope that government’s strong commitment to doing their part to ensure Mifegymiso is accessible will spur additional physicians and pharmacists in our province to take the training required to prescribe and dispense the drug.”
The council has also advised government that the province needs expanded regional access to surgical abortion.
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent public advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council
[email protected] Tel. 506-462-5142