The Australian October 02, 2010
THE first failures of the abortion pill have been reported in Australia amid a surge in the take-up of RU486. Therapeutic Goods Administration data shows use of the controversial drug increased greatly in the second half of last year after a national chain of day clinics was licensed to use it.
In NSW, terminations with RU486 went from none to 1154 between July and December. In Queensland it increased from four to 323 and from 42 to 412 in Victoria. Also known as mifepristone, RU486 is generally used with another drug, misoprostol, to induce abortions that can take place at home.
But in 14 Australian cases the drugs failed and the termination had to be completed surgically. A further 110 cases of “adverse effects” were reported by the 81 doctors authorised to prescribe RU486 as at the end of last year, including those at the Marie Stopes organisation, which operates 13 clinics in the eastern states, ACT and Western Australia.