According to several reports, the changes allow prescribers and chemists dispensing MS-2 Step without a special certification or registration to do so; meaning that the medicine, which is used to terminate a pregnancy up to nine weeks of gestation, will be able to be prescribed by all general practitioners (GPs).
Official reports show that only 10 percent of GPs in Australia and 30 percent of pharmacists were specially registered to dispense MS-2 Step, significantly restricting access to the drug.
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the changes were a logical step but warned it would take time to boost the number of prescribers of MS-2 Step and that it would improve access to the service for those living in rural and remote communities.
"The TGA's changes will enable greater access to medical abortion for women throughout Australia and will reduce unnecessary red tape for the GPs who provide these essential services," the college president, Nicole Higgins, said.
According to official reports, it can be prescribed, from August, by any healthcare practitioner with appropriate qualifications and training, including nurse practitioners; and, restrictions on pharmacists will also be lifted.
Moreover, as an additional safeguard, a warning will be included in the medicine's product information outlining the circumstances when someone should be referred to a doctor.
The MS-2 Step medication, which involves a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, could previously only be prescribed by a doctor with specialist certification and then provided by a pharmacist registered to dispense the product.
Roughly one in 10 GPs were able to prescribe the medication, and three in 10 pharmacists could dispense it.