A drug that triggers menstruation, and could be used to induce abortion, may be marketed in France within a year, a World Health Organization expert in Geneva announced.
The drug, administered in pill form, can cause a woman's body to expel a fertilized egg after the embryo has implanted itself in the uterus, according to Paul van Look, a WHO medical officer and human reproduction expert.
Studies indicate that the drug, known as RU-486, can flush out about 90% of the embryo if a woman takes it within a few days of the time she would normally have begun to menstruate, he said.
RU-486, developed by a French firm, differs from commonly used "morning-after" pills, which must be taken shortly after intercourse to be effective, he said. "With this pill, that should not be a problem. The drug should still be active even after implantation. You can interrupt a pregnancy with it."