Brief Summary of Mifegymiso in Canada
- In July of 2015, Health Canada approved the abortion pill Mifegymiso, the Canadian brand name for the combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
- Its roll-out did not effectively start until January 2017. Mifegymiso is now available in a limited number of locations. Click here to find a prescriber in your area. Some prescribers and pharmacies are not listed on our public directory and so, if you wish to know if someone in your region prescribes or dispenses Mifegymiso, please contact the Access Line at 1-888-642-2725.
- Mifegymiso’s cost hovers between 300$ and 450$ which means that, without cost coverage, medical abortion using this combination of drugs remains inaccessible for most people.
- On April 20th 2017, the CADTH Canadian Drug Expert Committee made its final recommendation on the newly approved abortion pill. The expert committee recommended provincial and territorial cost reimbursement of Mifegymiso.
- As of April 2017, New Brunswick, Alberta and Ontario have announced universal coverage of Mifegymiso for all persons covered under provincial health care. It was also announced that federal patients covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefits would also be able to access Mifegymiso free of charge. All three provinces have launched their coverage programs at this time and patients are able to access the medication free of charge. In July 2017, Quebec announced its intention to offer universal coverage in the coming fall. The provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan did not pledge universal coverage and instead, Manitoba residents will be able to access Mifegymiso free of charge in a few limited sites while the Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan (the provincial formulary) started providing coverage for the drug on September 5th 2017.
- Health Canada’s unnecessary restrictions around the prescribing and dispensing of Mifegymiso continue to hamper access to medical abortion. See Action Canada for Sexual Health and rights “asks” to support the most effective Mifegymiso roll-out and increased access to abortion in Canada
- Mifegymiso distributor Celopharma submitted a Supplemental New Drug Submission (SNDS) to have several of the Health Canada restrictions reviewed. A decision is anticipated in the Fall of 2017.
- Health Canada made an announcement on the easing of some of its restrictions. Pharmacists are no longer required to take the SOGC training before dispensing Mifegymiso and the distribution systems are clearly under the jurisdiction of each provincial professional bodies representing physicians and pharmacists. At this time, five provincial governing bodies of pharmacist professionals produced guidelines in support of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians' involvement in dispensing directly to patients (British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan).
Health Canada has not yet changed their language around who can prescribe Mifegymiso but professional bodies representing nurses and nurse practitioners are moving ahead with their recommendations in regards to nurse practitioners becoming prescribers. The Canadian Nurses Association has publicly stated their opinion on Nurse Practitioners prescribing of Mifegymiso and what this could mean for individual access across Canada. The College of Nurses of Ontario was the first nursing governing body to support their NPs to prescribe Mifegymiso. Other provinces are waiting for Health Canada to clarify who qualifies as 'prescriber', when it can administered and who can dispense it which points to the importance of continuing to put pressure on Health Canada to edit their language.