6 Jun 2012
Pune: The Pune division of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has decided to prevent misuse of abortion pills and take action against those selling them without prescriptions.
State chief secretary Jayanth Kumar Banthia on Monday had directed municipal commissioners and district collectors to carry out surprise inspection drives at sonography centres in their respective areas. He had issued directions to FDA to be extra vigilant about the unlawful sale of abortion drugs. The order came in view of the rising number of cases of female foeticide in the state.
"A high-level meeting of FDA officials was held in Mumbai on Tuesday, following the chief secretary’s directions. The state FDA commissioner has asked us to initiate a special drive to tighten monitoring mechanism vis–à–vis sale and use of abortion drugs. The aim is to sensitise chemists against its unlawful sale, educate people and initiate action against those found indulging in its unlawful sale," B R Masal, joint commissioner (drugs), FDA, Pune division, told TOI on Tuesday.
Masal said,"Abortion pills or medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) pills are included in the drug inspector’s routine inspection checklist. This means that we keep a regular check to ensure that such medicines are not sold without prescription. The aim of initiating the special drive is to sensitise and educate chemists, doctors and the public and tighten the existing monitoring mechanism," Masal said.
The FDA administration will begin conducting surprise raids. It has warned chemists to refrain from over-the-counter sale of drugs that help induce termination of pregnancy up to seven weeks.
In its report on July 18, 2011, ‘Misuse of ‘A’ pills rising’, TOI had highlighted how abortion pills are among the most abused medicaments in the city. A strict law which categorically maintains that the drug should be sold only when a prescription from a gynaecologist or a registered medical practitioner recognised by the MTP Act, 1971, is produced, is often discarded.
"All FDA officials from Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur that come under Pune division will be told to ensure that chemists in their areas do not indulge in over-the-counter sale of abortion pills," Masal said.
Any chemist bending the rules will be served a show-cause notice and may have his/her licence suspended under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940, he added.
Abortion pills are not morning-after pills that are taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse so that conception does not occur. The MTP pills are to be taken when the pregnancy is proved and the person is not willing to carry on with it, irrespective of the sex of the foetus. The morning-after pill is taken before missing the monthly period, while abortion pills are taken after missing it.
The pill shows 85% to 97% rate of success, although the side–effects remain similar like abdominal pain and bleeding (attributed to the process of abortion), vomiting and nausea (on account of pregnancy) and in some cases, diarrhoea and fever. The side effects could vary.