January 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 12
Drug Maker's RU 486 Warnings Attacked Unfairly

by Laura Echevarria

(NOTE: Laura Echevarria is director of media relations for the National Right to Life Committee)

    From ProLife Infonet. 01-12-01 - G.D. Searle, manufacturer of misoprostol (brand name Cytotec), a drug used in conjunction with RU-486, is receiving a great deal of criticism for its efforts to protect patients.

    Searle's efforts to clarify the labeling of its drug at the request of the Food and Drug Administration by revising the labeling and sending a letter of warning to doctors that the drug should not be used by pregnant women, have led proponents of the RU-486 abortion method, including USA TODAY and the FDA, to criticize Searle.

    But there's good reason to worry about misoprostol. According to this month's issue of Mother Jones magazine, the off-label use of misoprostol to induce labor in pregnant women has resulted in 30 reported cases of uterine rupture in the past three years alone.

    When misoprostol was first approved as an anti-ulcer drug, Searle stated that it was contraindicated for pregnant women.

    The science on which this conclusion was based has not changed, and the incidences of uterine rupture resulting from off-label use have only underscored the correctness of Searle's position.

    If misoprostol had not been approved by the FDA for use with the abortion drug RU-486, then USA TODAY and other critics would more than likely be applauding Searle for its quick and responsible actions. It is only support for the RU-486/misoprostol abortion method that has prompted such disparaging, politically driven comments regarding Searle and the "motivations" for its actions.

    Instead of questioning the motives of Searle, people should be questioning the motives of pro-abortion groups and their sympathizers. Representatives of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists admit that risks are associated with the use of misoprostol by pregnant women. Nonetheless, the organization criticized Searle because its actions "could limit the use of this new option for reproductive choice."

    The FDA's campaign on behalf of RU-486 strongly indicates that it is the FDA's interest in preserving this chemical-abortion method, not women's safety, that is the controlling factor in its discussions with Searle over misoprostol labeling.

    Will sound science and women's health once again fall victim to pro-abortion political pressure?

For other news stories, see

January 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 12
Church News in the USA

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