Dec 23, 2014
By Jane Brown
It’s a drug that’s already available in 60 countries, but has been stuck in Canada’s drug approval pipeline for more than three years. A decision by Health Canada on the abortion pill is reportedly expected by an internal deadline of mid-January. Pro-choice advocates and researchers have been assisting a small European drug company with its Canadian application. They say they’ve encountered an unusual amount of aversion from the regulators who will decide whether Canadian women get access to the pill that can end an early pregnancy when combined with a drug that’s already sold in this country.
Safety concerns have been raised about the drug, called mifepristone. A 27 year old Quebec woman died during a Canadian clinical trial of it in 2001, which anti-abortion activists have raised in the campaign against the pill.
Despite the delay, the leader of the organization that represents abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada believes Health Canada is poised to approve the drug. The decision could significantly expand access for women who live far from urban centres that have most of Canada’s abortion facilities.