Has there been an application to market RU-486 in Canada?

 

By Dave Andrusko

Canadian Department of Health Deputy Minister George Da Pont

Canadian Department of Health Deputy Minister George Da Pont

Last week NRL News Today wrote about an editorial that appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, written by Dr. Sheila Dunn and attorney Rebecca Cook, arguing that Canadian women are not receiving the “best abortion option” for non-surgical abortions —RU-486. (See “Pro-abortionists try to ease the way for introduction of RU-486 into Canada”)

“We don’t ever know the reasons that people have for not bringing drugs into different countries,” Dunn told Helen Branswell of The Globe and Mail newspaper. “Some of them will be economic. And sometimes if it’s going to be really onerous to actually get drug approval and the economic margins are not going to be such that makes it worthwhile for someone to do that, that may be a deterrent.”

However the jointly-written editorial also said that in 2012, a pharmaceutical company “brought forward the first known new drug submission for mifepristone to Health Canada.” In her story Branswell paraphrased Dunn and Cook as saying “Health Canada is currently studying an application to bring that option, a drug commonly known as RU-486, to the Canadian market.”

But is that so?

At a meeting last week of a parliament Health Committee, an MP asked Department of Health Deputy Minister George Da Pont, “Why have we not approved it, and why is it still sitting there to the extent that the Canadian Medical Association Journal now feels compelled to write a very strong editorial about it?”

Da Pont responded, “The answer is relatively simple: To date, no company has applied to market the product in Canada.” He added, “Obviously if we receive such an application, we would study very much the data, the experience in other countries, and we would try to deal with it as quickly as possible.”

MP Libby Davies

MP Libby Davies

MP Libby Davies continued, “How long would that process take if there were an application made?” To which Da Pont answered, “I can’t speculate on how long it would take. It would depend on the application. But in this case, given widespread use, given lots of data from other countries, I would expect it would go faster than normal applications.”

Seemingly, either Dunn and Cook were mistaken or Da Pont misspoke.

Pro-lifers, naturally, are adamantly opposed to bringing RU-486 to Canada. In a press release, Canadian Physicians for Life stated “This is death we are talking about, not just of the unborn babies but sometimes of the mothers themselves.” According to Peter Baklinski, “Campaign Life Coalition launched a petition on Monday to have the country’s health minister Rona Ambrose “definitively reject” the chemical abortion pill.

As NRL News Today reported last week, non-surgical abortions are now performed (according to Dunn) by use of the drug methotrexate, which she described to Branswell as “second rate.” (It’s traditionally used as a drug to fight cancer.) But “second rate” hardly captures what Dunn then explained are methotrexate’s dangers.

Methotrexate is prescribed off-label for abortions, meaning it is not intended for that purpose, Dunn said. Additionally, it must be administered by injection, takes longer to work than mifepristone, and is less reliable. Methotrexate can also cause serious birth defects if the abortion is unsuccessful, so women must be tracked and monitored by health professionals.”

All that is true, and more! But Dunn and Cook manage to miss everything that is wrong about RU-486, which is actually an extremely powerful two-drug combination: mifepristone, which kills the baby, and misoprostol, a prostaglandin that induces contractions to expel the dead baby.

An April 30, 2011, “Postmarketing Events Summary” put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 2,207 adverse events, 14 U.S. deaths, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 256 infections, and 339 women requiring transfusions. Keep in mind that we are told that, in general, only 1% to 10% of complications encountered with FDA approved drugs are typically reported to the FDA.

NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon elaborated on the dangers—and more about the history of chemical abortions—at “RU-486 Now Safe? Feminist researcher who opposed abortion pill in 1991 book still doesn’t think so.”

Note this two-sentence aside in Branswell’s story: “There were clinical trials of the drug in Canada early in the last decade. But one was stopped after a woman who received the drug died of a bacterial infection.”

For now, we can only we can only hope that Canada is wiser than we were and keeps RU-486 out of our neighbor to the North.