Pallister Government Must Ensure Essential Medicine Mifegymiso Is Accessible and Affordable for all Women: Fontaine

The Manitoba NDP urges the Pallister government to develop a dispensing and regulation plan for Mifegymiso and include it in the provincial Pharmacare plan to ensure that all women have easy access to it, MLA Nahanni Fontaine said today.

“Mifegymiso is listed by the World Health Organization as an ‘essential medicine’ and was approved by Health Canada in July,” Fontaine said. “When the abortion pill becomes available this month it will be too expensive and too difficult to obtain for many women unless the government ensures it is affordable and accessible.”

Health Canada will require doctors to complete an online training course in order to administer the drug and will require doctors to dispense it themselves, rather than hand out a prescription, Fontaine said. The pill is expected to sell for about $270 and is not covered by Manitoba’s healthcare plan.

“It will be beyond the scope of many family practices, particularly those in rural and remote communities who do not have experience maintaining the supply and distribution of pharmaceuticals, to stock and dispense this pill,” Fontaine said. “This has the potential to create barriers for patients to access an essential medicine.”

Up to now, Manitoba has been a leader in keeping essential medicines accessible and affordable for patients in this province, Fontaine noted. So far, only Quebec has added Mifegymiso to its list of publicly funded drugs.

“All Manitoba women have a right to affordable and accessible reproductive healthcare,” Fontaine said. “This province has made significant investments to improve reproductive healthcare for women, including building the new Women’s Hospital, expanding the Women’s Health Clinic and creating the Birth Centre. The government must build on this progressive record and ensure the abortion pill is affordable and accessible.”

Pharmacare helps improve affordability and accessibility to health care, especially for low-income families and individuals. Pharmacare is based on family income and covers 100 per cent of eligible drug costs once an income-based deductible is reached.