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Misoprostol knowledge and distribution in Mexico City after the change in abortion law: a survey of pharmacy staff
  1. Greta Weaver1,
  2. Raffaela Schiavon2,
  3. Maria Elena Collado3,
  4. Stephanie Küng4,
  5. Blair G Darney1
  1. 1 Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2 Independent Consultant, Mexico City, Mexico
  3. 3 Ipas, Mexico City, Mexico
  4. 4 Ipas, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Blair G Darney, Obstetrics and Gynecology, OHSU, Portland, OR 97239, USA; darneyb{at}


Objective First-trimester abortion is widely available in Mexico City since legalisation in 2007, but few data exist surrounding pharmacy staff knowledge and sales practices. We describe misoprostol availability, whether a prescription is required, and knowledge of the legal status of abortion and uses for misoprostol among pharmacy staff in Mexico City.

Methods Data were collected from 174 pharmacies in Mexico City. One employee at each pharmacy was asked about availability, need for prescription, indications for misoprostol, and sociodemographic information. Our primary outcome was availability of misoprostol. We used descriptive and bivariate statistics to compare knowledge and practices by type of pharmacy and staff gender.

Patients and public involvement No patients were involved in this study.

Results Of the 174 pharmacies, 65 were chain and 109 small independent. Misoprostol was available at 61% of sites. Only 49% of independent pharmacies sold misoprostol, compared with 81.5% of chain pharmacies (p<0.05). Knowledge of indications for misoprostol use was similar. The majority (80%) of respondents knew that abortion was legal in Mexico City, and 44% reported requiring a prescription for sale of misoprostol, with no significant difference between male and female staff or by pharmacy type.

Conclusions Availability, requirement of a prescription, and knowledge of indications for use of misoprostol varies among pharmacies, resulting in differential access to medical abortion. Pharmacies may be a good place to target education for pharmacy staff and women about safe and effective use of misoprostol for abortion.

  • misoprostol
  • medical abortion
  • Mexico
  • pharmacy

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  • Contributors RS and BGD conceived the analysis. MEC and RS led data collection. GW and BGD conducted the analysis. GW drafted the manuscript, BGD, RS, MEC and SK provided substantive revisions.

  • Funding Dr Blair Darney was supported by the Society of Family Planning (SFPRF11-02) and grant number K12HS022981 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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