British Firm Seeks Approval for 1st Abortion Pills in Japan

Economy Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 22 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese subsidiary of British pharmaceutical company Linepharma International Ltd. applied to Japan's health ministry on Wednesday for approval for its abortion pills.

Abortion pills are used in more than 80 countries, according to a U.S. nonprofit organization, and the World Health Organization has recommended such pills as a safe method for abortion. The use of abortion pills has not yet been approved in Japan, however.

Linepharma sought approval for mifepristone, which blocks the effects of progesterone, a key hormone needed for continuing a pregnancy, and misoprostol, which causes the uterus to contract.

In clinical trials in Japan, 93 pct of women up to nine weeks pregnant had successful abortions within 24 hours of taking the pills and no major problem was found with the pills' safety.

Abortions in Japan are mainly performed through a procedure called dilation and curettage, which removes tissue from inside the uterus using metal equipment. The method imposes a heavy strain on women as it comes with a high rate of complications such as infectious diseases.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press