by Steven Ertelt
August 14, 2006
Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — Though the Australian parliament approved transferring responsibility for approving sales of the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug from the top health minister to a regulatory agency, the nation’s Health Department may be able to prevent sales of the drug.
Two abortion practitioners have received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to sell the abortion drug, which is responsible for the deaths of 12 women worldwide, locally to their patients.
In July, one of the two abortion practitioners who received approval indicated she knows a foreign company that plans to file an application with the government to sell the mifepristone abortion drug nationwide.
Should the TGA approve nationwide sales, pro-life Health Minister Tony Abbott said the Department of Health and Ageing’s secretary could cancel a company’s TGA registration to sell the drug.
"Cancellation of the registration of the product means that the product can no longer be legally marketed and supplied in Australia," he said in response to questions from MP John Murphy, who opposes abortion.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Abbott added, "This may take effect immediately in circumstances where it appears that failure to cancel the registration would create imminent risk of death, serious illness or serious injury."
"In other circumstances, the sponsor may have the opportunity to submit additional information addressing the basis of the proposed action before a decision is made," he said.
Drug companies have yet to submit an application to sell the drug nationwide, but the ability to cancel the application would likely be heralded by pro-life advocates in the island nation.
Abortion practitioner Caroline De Costa became the first to be able to sell the abortion drug to women considering an abortion. However, the drug is sold only to women at her facility and not nationwide.
De Costa told the Australia Broadcast Corporation that a pharmaceutical company is seeking approval to distribute the drug. But she’s unwilling to name the company, which apparently already sells drugs in Australia.
"They are a company who apply in the usual way to market the drug," she said. "They are a company who already market other drugs in Australia."
The drugs de Costa is giving to women at her abortion center come from a New Zealand supplier that has a contract with the French maker of the drug, Exelgyn.
Women from the U.S., Canada, England, Sweden and France have died after using the RU 486 abortion pill.