THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 22, 1993
January 22, 1993
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SUBJECT: Importation of RU-486
In Import Alert 66-47, the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") excluded the drug Mifepristine -- commonly known as RU-486 -- from the list of drugs that individuals can import into the United States for their "personal use," although the drugs have not yet been approved for distribution by the FDA. (See FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9-71.) Import Alert 66-47 effectively bans the importation into this Nation of a drug that is used in other nations as a nonsurgical means of abortion.
I am informed that in excluding RU-486 from the personal use importation exemption, the FDA appears to have based its decision on factors other than an assessment of the possible health and safety risks of the drug. Accordingly, I hereby direct that you promptly instruct the FDA to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant exclusion of RU-486 from the list of drugs that qualify for the personal use importation exemption. Furthermore, if the FDA concludes that RU-486 meets the criteria for the personal use importation exemption, I direct that you immediately take steps to rescind Import Alert 66-47.
In addition, I direct that you promptly assess initiatives by which the Department of Health and Human Services can promote the testing, licensing, and manufacturing in the United States of RU-486 or other antiprogestins.
You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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