The prescription drug Mifegymiso, also known as the ‘abortion pill’, will now be covered for uninsured residents of the NWT.
Mifegymiso is a prescription drug used to terminate pregnancies up to nine weeks gestation. The prescription contains Mifepristone and Misoprostol, two pills which are taken over the course of a few days to end the pregnancy. The cost of the drug, which is $486 in the NWT, will be covered for women who do not have full coverage under other programs or plans.
The use of Mifegymiso used to require an ultrasound to be completed before the drug could be administered. Health Canada has now relaxed this requirement, however, women still need a health care provider prior to using the pill and ‘access to emergency medical treatment for two weeks after taking the drug in case of serious complications,’ the Department of Health and Social Services states.
The Northern Options for Women (NOW) program, in Yellowknife and Inuvik, is in charge of administering Mifegymiso. The health department says they are working on a possible expansion of the program, but for the time being women in other communities need to travel to these regional centres to get access to the drug.
“The Department will cover the medical travel costs for residents residing outside of Yellowknife and Inuvik if the patient, in consultation with their medical practitioner, feels that this treatment is the right choice for them,” the health department says.
In order to use Mifegymiso to terminate a pregnancy, the health department states women need to have access to counselling prior to receiving the drug and be assessed to find out the date of pregnancy. They will also need to have access to emergency medical care for two weeks after the pill is taken, at the end of those weeks they will also need to take an ultrasound and blood test to ensure the pregnancy has been terminated.
READ MORE: Mifegymiso in the Northwest Territories