A push is underway to make medical abortion more accessible across Australia by cutting down the regulatory barriers around who can prescribe the pill combination and where it can be stocked. Source: The Age.
Non-profit pharmaceutical company MS Health – the private sponsor behind medical abortion in Australia – submitted applications to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in December that proposed expanding the number of health practitioners eligible to prescribe the medication and removing the requirements for recertification and pharmacist registration.
Medical abortions in Australia are caused by a two-tablet course of misoprostol and mifepristone known as the MS-2 step. In Australia, only doctors can prescribe medical abortion medication. The law also requires doctors to undergo special training and registration.
MS Health says change is needed because stigma and bureaucratic regulation have made medical terminations hard to come by in Australia. Others stress there’s a need for continued strict regulation to keep the practice safe and ensure the medication is not available over the counter.
Jamal Hakim, MS Health’s managing director, said the proposed changes would be the “biggest set of changes since medical abortion was introduced in Australia 10 years ago”.
MS Health says its proposed changes, if approved, could bring about legislative reform around abortion access across states and territories.
In 2021, only 23 per cent of abortions in Australia were medical, compared to 73 per cent in Britain and 39 per cent in the US.
According to the Australian Journal of General Practice, there were only 1345 certified prescribers out of about 35,000 practising GPs in 2019.
The game-changing plan to cut barriers to medical abortion (By Nell Geraets, SMH)