The use of the abortion drug RU-486 has been approved by the Health Canada. A doctor's prescription will be required to purchase the drug, which will be sold under the name Mifegymiso in Canada.
A regulator from the agency says the use of the abortion pill has been approved to terminate pregnancies up to the gestational age of 49 days. Mifepristone was approved in the United States in 2000, and the drug has been available in France since 1988. So far, 57 countries have legalized the use of the drug for abortion.
Mifegymiso contains a blend of two chemicals – misoprostol and mifepristone. Mifepristone suppresses the production of progesterone, a hormone essential to maintaining pregnancy. Misoprostol induces contraction of the uterus. The contraction leads to the expulsion of the placenta and the growing fetus from the uterus.
The British manufacturer of the drug, Linepharma International Limited, said the woman opting for abortion will have to take the first pill at the physician's clinic. The next set of four pills needs to be taken within 12 to 24 hours of the first. A follow-up visit to the doctor is required after one to two weeks.
The use of the pill has been long opposed by anti-abortion groups in Canada, including the Campaign Life coalition. The Huffington Post reports that soon after the approval of the drug, the group called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop the production and distribution of the drug in Canada.
“RU-486 is a human pesticide which kills the pre-born child and harms women,” said Jim Hughes, the president of the group. Hughes also said the drug has led to death of 14 women in the United States so far. In addition, he said a clinical trial of the drug was stopped in 2001 when a woman died from its use.
RU-486 is expected to hit the Canadian market shelves in the winter 2016. The drug will be distributed by Celopharma Inc., confirmed Linepharma.