Citing widespread misuse, government bans open retail of abortion drugs

New Delhi: It will no longer be easy to buy the popular abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol at your local pharmacy, as the government has decided to ban the retail sale of these drugs.

Citing widespread misuse as specified in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2002 and MTP Rules 2003″.

However, at its recent Drug Advisory Committee (DCC) meeting held on August 20, the drug regulator asked state drug controllers to impose a restriction on the sale of these drugs. “Wholesalers will only supply kits to approved centers to prevent misuse of the kit,” the minutes of the DCC meeting read. Mint reviewed the minutes of the meeting.

These are well-known prescription medications for termination of pregnancy and, at present, they can be obtained from a pharmacy with a prescription. However, according to state drug controllers, the drugs are misused by young women and can cause serious side effects, which in extreme cases can even be fatal.

Previously, the Haryana State Drug Controller raised a concern after which the Drug Controller decided to restrict the sale,” a person familiar with the matter said. According to another person, drugs were also used as a means of sex-selective abortions and therefore it was deemed necessary to end drug abuse. Haryana, in fact, has been infamous for sex-selective abortions and infanticide. With 789 girls per 1,000 boys, it had the second-worst SRB in 2001, according to census data. The ratio remained unchanged over the following decade.

The DCC, under the leadership of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani, has decided that a notice should be issued to all manufacturers and state drug controllers. They were also asked to include the prescribed conditions issued in an advisory capacity as a condition when granting licenses to manufacturers.

“All State Drug Controllers can interact with all stakeholders to publicize the opinions issued by the Drug Controller General of India, especially the Association of Chemists and Pharmacists, Manufacturers and others relevant stakeholders,” the minutes added.

Big pharma Cipla dominates the combination abortion pills segment and is home to the leading brands in the MT pills category and the DCC decision could shake the MT pills market.

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