The short answer is YES.
Mifegymiso can be prescribed by physicians and many pharmacies stock it. In principle, everyone who wants to access medical abortion care to terminate a pregnancy and who has access to a doctor should be able to obtain a prescription for Mifegymiso. That said, the reality is that access is still compromised; how easy it is to get Mifegymiso depends on where you are.
The reality is, it's complicated. Why is that?
Following the July 2015 Health Canada approval, it was anticipated that Mifegymiso would be available to the public in the Spring of 2016 but its distribution faced several roadblocks, including manufacturing delays. The wait period can also be attributed in part to the need to accommodate some of the restrictions Health Canada included in its approval of the drug, one of them being a mandatory training for prescribing physicians and pharmacists (which had to be developed).
The training, which is no longer mandatory (Health Canada lifted the requirement in May of 2017) is offered through the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights continues to encourage health care practitioners to take the SOGC training to get better acquainted with medical abortion service provision and for prescribers and pharmacists to list themselves on directories connecting providers, dispensers and the public. We also encourage prescribers and dispensers to join a community of practice to receive the support of other health care providers who offer medical abortion or stock Mifegymiso in their region.
Mifegymiso finally hit the shelves in January 2017 and while that was a positive step forward, many unnecessary barriers still make it difficult for the public to access the medical abortion drug. For one, the price tag for Mifegymiso hovers between $300 and $450. For many individuals who must pay out of pocket, this continues to put it out of reach.
Action Canada has therefore been calling on all provincial and territorial governments, as well as the Federal government, to promptly ensure that the cost of medication abortion is covered under public health care. So far, New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have responded to the call. New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta residents can now access Mifegymiso free of charge. This will also be the case in Quebec and Nova Scotia later this fall. Two federal programs have also followed suit, adding Mifegymiso to their formularies.
If you are in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador, universal cost coverage is not in place. While partial coverage is in place for some residents in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, or offered free of charge in limited locations in Manitoba, the PEI and in Newfoundland and Labrador governments have yet to announce any coverage at all. The same is true for many Federal patients, including people who are incarcerated with a sentence of more than two years, serving members of the Canadian Forces and eligible veterans. Some private insurers may offer coverage for the medication through their policy, but for the remaining individuals with no private insurance or, in the provinces where it was added to the drug formulary, who are not on some form of social assistance, they are required to pay for the medication themselves.
There are many other barriers that stand in the way of making Mifegymiso available for everyone in Canada, even where cost coverage is promised or in place.