RU 486

Healthbeat 2000 No. 1.jpgHealthbeat 2000 No. 1.jpg

This is not another legislative enactment of the country. In fact, it did not even emanated from the Philippines. RU 486 is the “morning after pill” which was reported to have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in September. Reactions on the pill’s US approval are varied and caused quite a stir in the country.

RU 486 is a chemical compound that, taken in pill form, can induce abortion in women up to nine weeks pregnant. This compound gets the first part of the name from the French company Roussel Uclaf, which first developed the abortion pill back in 1980. The “486” designation is the shortened version of the original “38486” compound number the pill was first assigned in the Roussel Uclaf laboratory.

RU 486 is also known by its generic name, mifepristone, and by Mifegyne, the name under which RU 486 is marketed in Europe, Mifeprex is the name under which is to be sold in the US.

To date, RU 486 is not yet a registered product in the Philippines and is not legally available in the market. Besides, the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) has yet to receive the drug’s application for registration.

Earlier, the BFAD has approved the use of another drug called Levonorgestrel only as an emergency contraception bill. This will be used only in all DOH’s Women and Children Protection Units which is intended to help victims of rape and children who were victims of incest.

However, there are some points to consider before giving RU 486 to victims. Experience showed that most victims muster enough courage to come out in the open after so many days or even months. Giving RU 486 at this point is tantamount to aborting a helpless fetus.

Another point to consider is getting the victim’s permission before administering the pill. Giving RU 486 to a victim without her consent might only cause a double black eye – dealing with the trauma, i.e. rape as well as dealing with abortion.