Australia Official Says No Threats to Pharmacy Company Over Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Official Says No Threats to Pharmacy Company Over Abortion Drug

Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 30, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — Health Minister Tony Abbott has said that claims he threatened a pharmaceutical industry leader over the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug are false. An unnamed representative of a drug company claims Abbott and his staff made private threats warning of consequences if the abortion drug was sold in Australia.

Earlier this year, the Australian parliament stripped Abbott, who is pro-life, of his regulatory control over the drug. Abbott had said the drug would not be sold in Australia, on the advice of the nation’s top doctor.

The vote allowed the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which normally regulates drugs, to have oversight on the mifepristone pill. In April, the TGA approved requests from two abortion practitioners to sell the drug.

In an interview with ABC television in Australia, the unnamed drug official discussed the allegations of threats.

"The minister approached me before the vote was taken in the parliament. It was at a social function. His approach was quite a casual one but his message clear," the representative said.

"He made it clear to me … that it was against our interests if we were to market RU486 in Australia," the spokesperson said.

"A couple of weeks later I did receive contact from his office," they said. "In fact I had two … communications with his office and both occasions the message was much clearer and the message really was that it was not in any company’s interest to market RU 486."

The person said the threat was passed on to other drug companies.

But Abbott says the claims are bogus.

"He denies holding discussions with any pharmaceutical company representative about RU 486 and says that his staff also deny warning off any companies," an Abbott spokesman told ABC television.