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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET

Female Foeticide: A Brutal Act Involving Drugs

Female foeticide is an act involving intentional killing of female foetus in the mother’s womb due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females. This activity is as old as many cultures, and has likely accounted for millions of gender-selective deaths throughout history. It remains a critical concern in a number of "Third World" countries today, notably the two most populous countries, China and India. It is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of the anti-female bias that pervades "patriarchal" societies. According to a recent report by the United Nations Children's Fund, India's population shows the deficiency of upto 50 million girls and women as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. Due to the high cost involved in surgical abortion and its illegality in second and third trimester, newer non-invasive drugs, which are 85-97% effective, are widely used. This includes Mifepristone & Misoprostol, which in combination (Schedule H Drugs) induces abortion through the first 49 days of gestation.


Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, which is needed to sustain pregnancy. This results in changes in the uterine lining and detachment of the embryo, softening and opening of the cervix, increased uterine sensitivity to prostaglandin. Misoprostol, a prostaglandin E1 analogue, causes the uterus to contract and thus causes expulsion of embryo. These drugs are contraindicated in presence of an intrauterine device, ectopic pregnancy, chronic adrenal failure, long term corticosteroid therapy. MTP kit, MTProst®, Nectrapil®, T-Pill+Miso are some marketed products that are sold over the counter without prescription.

To overpower this brutal act, government regulations prohibiting the use of prenatal sex identification techniques for nonmedical purposes are strictly enforced. Strict norms on production of such drugs are superimposed as a result of which many companies have decreased its production. Thereby the sale of these abortion drugs has been regularised. The principle of equality between men and women should be more widely promoted through the mass media to change the attitude of preference for a male heir. Last but not the least, increasing awareness can be promoted only through focus on effective public education.

Dinesh M Choudhary (T Y B Pharm)

Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy