RU486 licensed for Australian distribution

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced on 30 August that two drugs have been approved for distribution in Australia for use in early medical abortion. One of these drugs is mifepristone, also known as RU486, which has been available on a limited basis in Australia since 2006 when the ministerial veto on its importation was overturned in federal parliament (more info available on the Children by Choice website).

The TGA announcement means specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists, as well as GPs who undertake training from the license holder Marie Stopes International Australia, will be able to prescribe mifepristone to women for use in termination of pregnancy up to seven weeks gestation. It is hoped that this will result in expanded access to the drug, particularly in remote, rural and regional areas. At this stage it is unclear what the decision will mean for women in Queensland and how it will interact with Queensland abortion law. The implications for doctors currently approved to prescribe the drug to women with pregnancies up to nine weeks gestation is also unknown.