Came across an article today regarding ulcer medication being used to induce abortions without the help of a doctor. The comment at the bottom caught my eye.
Does anyone realize that this drug is also called Cytotec and is being used ALLL [sic] over the country to induce women? Women and children are dying because of this drug it is a silent epidemic. [sic] Try googling Cytotec Inducing Woman. Then make a news story.
So I did Google it.
Not that I’m surprised, but here’s how the pro-choice side prioritizes the health of the woman:
While Cytotec is hardly a household name, its availability as an underground abortion drug poses a dilemma for women’s health organizations that don’t want to draw attention to self-induced abortion, which is illegal in 39 states. Nor do they want to give pro-life groups another target. “All of us kind of recognize that keeping it a little below the radar may be the best in terms of advocacy right now,” says Silvia Henriquez, director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. [emphasis added]
So the ‘if -you-ignore-it-everything-will-go-away’ method. Proven very effective time after time. Let’s also ignore the fact that Cytotec is an older drug, no longer actively promoted as an ulcer medication, and still rakes in $180 million annually. (Not bad for a $2 pill.) Pfizer considers those sales “very small.” It should be noted that Pfizer repeatedly insists it does not support the off-label use of any drug.
So if these measly profits are being made mainly from the drugs off-label applications, why don’t they pull the drug? Maybe they just haven’t heard enough stories like these:
In 2007 in Massachusetts, an 18-year-old Dominican immigrant named Amber Abreu took misoprostol in her 25th week of pregnancy and gave birth to a 1-pound baby girl who died four days later; a judge sentenced her in June to probation and ordered her into therapy. In South Carolina in February, a Mexican migrant farm worker, Gabriela Flores, pleaded guilty to illegally performing an abortion and was sentenced to 90 days in jail for taking misoprostol while four months pregnant in 2004. A Virginia man, Daniel Riase, is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2007 to slipping the pills into his pregnant girlfriend’s glass of milk.
Or maybe, contrary to what it says, Pfizer is aware that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers commonly use this drug. Like during late term abortions:
If the pregnancy is over 18 weeks, a medication (Cytotec) will be placed in the cheeks of your mouth to help the osmotic dilators open the cervix.
Rebecca adds: There are also some rare but spectacularly bad side effects to Cytotec for labour induction, such as uterine rupture. I have mixed feelings about off-label prescribing, but this is more like an issue of informed consent. Perhaps off-label prescribing is fine, if you’re honest about the risks and unknowns when you’re prescribing that way. I’d like to discuss this with medical friends, and hear what they think about the whole issue. And I can’t help but think that if, say, Viagra came with such horrific potential complications, it’d be a much bigger deal.