Unconcerned about the grave complications that abortion pills can cause, most city medical stores sell the drug without prescription; some even give wrong dosage that can prove fatal for women
Women desperate to get rid of unwanted pregnancy are taking a deadly shortcut, which may actually cut their life short. Apprehensive of going to doctors, these vulnerable women prefer buying abortion pills on their own from pharmacies, which are not supposed to sell such sensitive drugs without a doctor's prescription.
It matters: Abortion pills are not supposed to be sold to minors, but
most pharmacies don't care to ask for age proof. Pic/Ramesh HS
A MiD DAY investigation reveals that many chemists in the city are selling abortion pills over counters without seeking prescription from customers. The investigation also established that procuring such sensitive drugs without proper papers was a cakewalk in the city.
How it began
After getting a cue from the medical fraternity that abortion pills were being openly sold in the market without prescription, this reporter visited five popular pharmacies of the city only to stumble on a disturbing trend none of them bothered to ask this reporter whether she had a prescription. Instead, the chemists wrote some fictitious doctor's name in the receipt and handed over the medicine to her.
Abortion pills are not supposed to be sold to minors, but the pharmacies care little to ask for age proof from customers.
Dr Chitra Rammurthi, senior consultant at Appollo Hospital, said, "Chemists do not realise how dangerous it is to sell these drugs over counter. If not taken under expert guidance, these pills can lead to severe health problems and can also prove fatal."
Narrating her harrowing experience, Sandhya Sharma (name changed), who preferred to buy abortion pills from a chemist instead of seeking a doctor's advise, said, "I got pregnant in my second year of college. As I was apprehensive about visiting a doctor, I opted for the 'easier' option and bought an abortion pill kit from a chemist. After taking the pills, I started bleeding profusely and had to be rushed to a hospital."
According to Dr Rammurthi, the first pill to be consumed is Mifepristone followed by Misoprostal. "Mostly the abortion pill is effective if used within nine weeks of pregnancy. A scan has to be done before prescribing the pills confirming the pregnancy. The pill cannot be prescribed to patients suffering from asthma, diabetes and heart diseases," she said.
If the drug is not taken properly it can lead to heavy bleeding, cramps and illness. "There is no guarantee that the pills will be 100 per cent effective. After two weeks another scan has to be done to ensure that the pregnancy is successfully terminated. If any remains of the fetus are left inside the womb, it can lead to severe infection," she added.
See a doctor
Head of Lalbagh Nursing Home, Dr Vidya Mani, said a person consuming these pills might not be aware of her medical conditions that can lead to complications.
"Frequent use of these pills can cause infection. I get a lot of cases where women face complications after taking abortion pills. The drug should not be sold should be taken only under medical supervision."
Chemists around St Marks Road, Residency road, Brigade Road and Infantry Road readily gave the pill without ask for any prescription. One of the oldest chemist shops in Bangalore, Cash Pharmacy, on Residency Road, did not bat an eyelid before giving the drug to this reporter. And instead of asking for the doctor's name, the chemist scribbled some random doctor's name on the receipt for record.
Some chemists such as Cure Chemist at Infantry Road do not even give the complete dose well aware of the fact that an incomplete dose could cause serious side effects.
Expressing his concern, BR Jagashetty, drug controller, Bangalore, said, "It is illegal to sell abortion pills over the counter. These drugs can be sold only when prescribed by a doctor. We had no idea that so many chemists are violating this rule in the city. We will probe the matter and suspend licences of the chemists found guilty," he said.
Advocate Shankrappa said, "This comes under the Karnataka Medical Prescription Act. It is a punishable offence. The punishment can be upto 3 years followed by a minimum fine of Rs 5,000."