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Abortion Pill Sales Below Expectations

September 26, 2002|Denise Gellene

Danco Laboratories said 100,000 women have used its abortion pill since it become available in November 2000. The figures confirm anecdotal reports that few women seeking abortions choose the pill and few doctors offer it.

The pill, sold as Mifeprex in the United States but better known by its European trade name, RU-486, has been used in fewer than 4% of abortions in the U.S. since its introduction.

According to Danco, abortion clinics account for 83% of its sales. It is the first time that Danco, a closely held New York company, has provided sales figures.

The pill has fallen short of early expectations for it. Feminists who brought the pill to the United States from Europe predicted that it would make abortion widely available outside clinics, where women often face harassment. But the pill is expensive, requires up to three office visits and, if it fails, must be followed with a surgical abortion.

A surgical abortion is $75 to $100 cheaper than a pill-induced procedure, involves a single office visit and is over in minutes.

Danco remains optimistic about the pill. The company said it is beginning to make inroads with private physicians and that the pace of sales is increasing.

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