Monday, May 29, 2023

Japan: Ministry of Health authorizes abortion pill

The abortion pill will be available in Japan until week nine of pregnancy.

AFP / © Handout / Plan C / AFP

Japan’s health ministry on Friday gave the go-ahead to the abortion pill in the country. In a notification to the health sector, it is mentioned that the pill from British laboratory Linepharma has been approved for distribution. In Japan it will be possible to use this instrument until nine weeks of pregnancy. A medical consultation with delivery of the abortion pill should cost approximately 100,000 yen, or 669 euros. Health insurance does not reimburse abortion in Japan.

Legal abortion since 1948

Abortion, as a reminder, has been legal in Japan up to 22 weeks since 1948. A surgical procedure is the only option to resort to abortion. The consent of the spouse is also required for abortion in Japan.

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In December 2021, LinePharma Laboratory applied for authorization of its abortion pill in Japan. This treatment combines two drugs: mifepristone, also known as RU 486, which inhibits the development of pregnancy by acting on progesterone, and misoprostol, which must be taken a day or two later to trigger contractions and bleeding. . This abortion pill method is authorized in several countries, notably in France since 1988 and in the United States since 2000.

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Toward Better Access to the Morning After Pill?

The Japanese health ministry’s decision came after a ministerial committee’s opinion and long negotiations. In addition, Japanese activists are also advocating for easier access to the morning after pill, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within twelve hours after unprotected or poorly protected intercourse. Currently, it can only be purchased with a doctor’s agreement, is not reimbursed by health insurance and must be ingested before a pharmacist to avoid smuggling on the black market.

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