Information should be published on Cytotec
Stabroek News
March 3, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Unfortunately, Dr M Y Bacchus' well intentioned caution [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] against the misuse of Cytotec (SN, 2.3.2002) will be no more effective at reducing its misuse than our traffic laws are at ensuring road safety.

Indeed, any resort to restrictions will be as hopelessly ineffective as the criminal abortion law was at preventing abortions. The challenge is to stop the "indiscriminate use" Dr Bacchus describes. The only effective path is to educate all health providers and women.

His attack on "unscrupulous pharmacists" is today as misplaced as the slanderous attacks on doctors who had the good sense to perform safe abortions before 1995. The Pharmacists' Association cannot prevent widespread access to the drug any more than the Medical Association could have prevented doctors providing abortions before 1995.

Cytotec is far safer than the desperate measures women used to take to end their pregnancies puncturing themselves with bicycle spokes, coconut bones, or hangers, falling down stairs, jumping out of trees, swallowing mercury, drinking bush teas, douching with Dettol, etc.

The World Health Organization is assessing the effectiveness of Cytotec (misoprostol) for use to induce early abortion. All that remains is to agree on a protocol. Anyone with access to the Internet can learn both sides of the debate on the safety of Cytotec for abortion. We are no longer in a world in which only experts have access to authentic information.

Interested readers should see the Meeting Report by the Reproductive Health Alliance, on "An International Consortium on Medical Abortion: Exploring Feasibility" from Stockholm, Sweden 10 12 June, 2001.

I should hope that Stabroek News will continue to publish information on Cytotec so that health professionals and users can make informed decisions. What we need is access to guidelines for using the drug. The editors should not allow Dr Bacchus's medical stature to intimidate them.

Yours faithfully,

Padmini Mohabir