Apr 29, 2013

PBS listing won’t guarantee access to RU486 — here’s why

The recommendation to list "abortion pill" mifepristone on the PBS is a victory for women's rights, but obstacles remain, including the time period it can be used and who can prescribe it. Gynaecological experts Caroline de Costa and Michael Carrette explain.

Friday’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommendation that mifepristone (RU486), known as the “abortion pill”, be listed on the PBS is an important step towards national accessibility of the drug. However, while congratulations are certainly in order — above all to Marie Stopes International Australia, which guided the application through the process — there are still obstacles to overcome.

Accessibility, affordability, safety and choice for all Australian women are the goals we, along with many others, have been working towards since we made our first application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to import mifepristone in late 2005, when the Harradine amendment was still in force.

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