Owner of second pill in the abortion pill regimen opposed its use in abortion

Cytotec is another name for the drug misoprostol, which was originally developed to treat ulcers but is now used with the abortion pill, mifepristone, to cause abortions. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, causing a woman to expel her baby. Mifepristone kills the baby by separating the placenta and cutting off the child’s oxygen and nutrition supply.

The company that has the patent to misoprostol/Cytotec opposed its use in abortions. According to author Melissa Haussman:

“The owner of the Cytotec patent, the Searle Company, consistently lobbied against having its drug included in an official medical abortion procedure.… In August 2000, one month after the drug had gone off-patent, Searle sent a letter to medical practitioners to warn them that Cytotec was not FDA approved for labor or abortion induction, although practitioners already knew that. It has strongly been suggested that the timing of that action was linked to avoiding future liability. Until misoprostol went off patent in July 2000, Searle acted to push any potential US manufacturer away from making mifepristone, since misoprostol would be required as an accompaniment.”

Melissa Haussman Reproductive Rights and the State: Getting the Birth Control, RU-486, and Morning-After Pills and the Gardasil Vaccine to the US Market (Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2013) 99

So Searle felt that it was unsafe to use misoprostol to induce abortions or labor, and was afraid of lawsuits due to this.

However, Searle lost the battle to control the use of their drug.

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Author: Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a writer for Live Action and a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life. She lives in NJ.

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