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Medical abortion: the hidden revolution
  1. Phil Harvey
  1. Chairman, DKT International, Washington DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Mr Phil Harvey, DKT International, 1701K Street NW, Suite 900, Washington DC 20006, USA; phil{at}dktinternational.org

Abstract

While the medical abortion (MA) drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, have radically altered reproductive health practices around the world, there has been little field research on the sales and use of these drugs, especially in developing countries. This leaves the family planning community with many unanswered questions. While good profiles of contraceptive use are available for many countries and we have good technical data on the MA drugs’ efficacy, dosages and regimens such as home dosage of misoprostol versus clinic dosage, we have very little information about the quantities of MA drugs sold, how they are used, where they are used, and, in the case of misoprostol, for what purposes. Sales data are available from one excellent commercial survey and from social marketing sales of mifepristone and misoprostol and these are presented. Acknowledging the sensitivity of the issue, especially in countries where abortion is severely restricted, the author makes a plea for careful additional research to shed light on an important and growing part of the international reproductive health picture.

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