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Introduction of medical abortion in India

Nozer Sheriar, MD, Medical Termination of Pregnancy Committee, Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India, Chowpatty Medical Centre, 3 Baig Mansion, Babulnath Road, Mumbai, 400 007, India, 91-22-362 0826, hbracken@popcouncil.org

In India, the approval and introduction of medical abortion has progressed at an accelerated pace. In 2000, the Government of India's National Population Policy (NPP) recommended enhancing its service provision efforts at Primary Health Centers (PHCs). In April 2002, acting on the guidelines of the NPP, the Drugs Controller of India approved mifepristone coupled with the prostaglandin misoprostol, for pregnancy termination in gestations of 7 weeks or less. Shortly after approval, four Indian pharmaceutical companies began marketing the drugs to gynaecologists nationwide. In May 2003, the rules and regulations governing the provision of abortion services were amended to specify that medical abortion could be provided by certified providers in unregistered facilities, as long as they had access to a registered facility for back-up, thus further paving the way for increased access to safe abortion services nationwide (Government of India, 2003).

Events in India illustrates the need for collaboration and partnerships among medical professional organizations, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers. Registration of mifepristone in India was facilitated by studies conducted in India by Indian researchers. Medical professional organizations also encouraged changes in regulation and legislation that increased access to medical abortion in the public sector. At the same time, marketing by pharmaceutical companies increased awareness and availability of the method among providers in both the private and public sector. Together, these two changes promise to make abortion services more accessible and available to Indian women.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Introduction and Provision of Medical Abortion: Perspectives from Five Countries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA