Photo credit Jason Dean
- Current restrictions won’t address existing challenges regarding access to abortion in Canada.
- Provincial and Territorial governments must establish programs to ensure cost coverage of Mifegymiso in their insurance plans, with special coverage for those who do not have provincial/territorial health insurance.
- The federal government could establish a program to cover all costs associated with Mifegymiso. This program could form the basis for a future national pharmacare strategy.
- Current restrictions must be revised, so as to:
- Extend gestational limits up to 10 weeks.
- Remove physician-only dispensing requirements and examine ways to ensure appropriate task-shifting in the provision of medication abortion allowing and training other health professionals (such as nurse practitioners and midwives) to provide these services.
- Remove mandatory ultrasound requirement.
- Remove physician supervision of patient administration requirement.
- Create a national, publically available registry of healthcare providers who are trained to prescribe Mifegymiso so those seeking the services, or those seeking to refer patients, know who is trained to prescribe the drug.
How to Address your MP
Ms. Jane Smith, M.P.
The Honourable (if cabinet minister) Jane Smith, P.C. (if cabinet minister), M.P.
Find your MP using your postal code: www.lop.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?Menu=HOC
No postage is required to send mail to MP parliamentary (Ottawa) offices
Minister of Health
HOW TO ADDRESS:
The Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
HEALTH CANADA MAILING ADDRESS:
70 Colombine Driveway,
Postal Location: 0906C
House of Commons
[MP address – Ottawa or constituency]
As a supporter of Canada’s universal health care program, [I’m/we are] writing to express concern regarding the roll-out of the gold-standard drug “Mifegymiso” used for medical abortions.
[If applicable, about your organization.]
As you may know, people in Canada experience many challenges in accessing abortion services. The majority of clinics are located in urban areas within 150km from the US border. Only 1/6 hospitals provide abortion services. This means that many women have to travel long distance (sometimes out of country) at their own expense to access timely care. No medically necessary procedure should be so difficult to access.
Mifegymiso has the potential to overcome many of these barriers; yet, the drug was approved with unnecessary restrictions, including the requirement that only physicians dispense the drug. No other drug, including highly controlled substances like methadone, have this requirement. Mifegymiso will also only be available until 7 weeks gestation, compared to 10 weeks like it is in the US. Cost will present another significant barrier. Mifegymiso is expected to be rolled-out at a cost of $300/regimen and provinces and territories have yet to include the drug in their insurance plans.
Together, these restrictions will severely impact access to a procedure that all people in Canada have a right to.
The federal government has the responsibility of holding provinces and territories accountable to the standards of universality and accessibility in the Canada Health Act, meaning the provision of universal coverage for all medically necessary procedures. The federal government can do so by:
- Tasking Health Canada with easing the restrictions currently associated with Mifegymiso;
- Establishing a federal program to ensure cost coverage for Mifegymiso; and
- Engaging in awareness raising activities for services providers and women on the availability of Mifegymiso, as part of broader sexual and reproductive health awareness raising activities.
[I/We] urge you to consider these recommendations and welcome the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss them in greater detail. [I/We] can be reached at [email + phone number].
Thank you in advance and [I/We] look forward to hearing back from you soon,