Back to top

About this database

The purpose of the Medical Abortion Commodities Database is to improve access to country-level information on the availability of different brands of abortion pills.

What commodities are included?

The database includes information on brands of mifepristone, misoprostol or combipacks of mifepristone and misoprostol that are available in a country and, for misoprostol and combipacks, have sufficient evidence to indicate they are of good quality.

If there is a product not listed for a particular country, it is because either a) the product is misoprostol or a combipack and does not have sufficient evidence to indicate it is of good quality; or b) it was not identified during extensive data collection exercises.

  • Misoprostol

    A medication that causes the cervix to become soft and the uterus to contract and empty out its contents. This is one of the two drugs used in combination to induce abortion, although where mifepristone is unavailable, it may be used alone.

  • Mifepristone

    A drug that blocks the effect of the hormone progesterone and causes separation of the pregnancy from the uterine wall. It also softens the cervix, making expulsion of the pregnancy easier. This is the first of two medications that are typically used for the medical abortion. It has not been shown to be effective if the pregnancy is outside the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy).

  • Co-packaged product (combipack)

    A product consisting of two or more separate pharmaceutical products in their final dosage form that are packaged together for distribution to patients in the co-packaging. In the context of mifepristone and misoprostol, when they are co-packaged in a single pack, it is often referred to as a combipack.

How was misoprostol quality determined?

Given the wide body of evidence documenting the challenges with degradation of misoprostol, this database only includes misoprostol products that have been internationally quality assured, or that have evidence on stability and content of the products. It includes combipacks where the misoprostol component meets such quality standards. Inclusion on this website is not, however, a guarantee that such medicines are safe, as no medicine is risk-free and there always remains the potential for side effects.

Criteria for inclusion are:

  • Products that have been approved by a Stringent Regulatory Authority (SRA) 

  • Products that have met requirements and standards by the WHO prequalification of medicines programme and are WHO prequalified

  • Products that have a current positive risk-based assessment recommendation of category 1 or 2 from the UNFPA Expert Review Panel (ERP) process.

  • Products that have other evidence on stability, content and clinical effectiveness from at least two of the following: 

    • Stability testing data from manufacturers
    • Independent product testing for content of misoprostol in finished pharmaceutical products
    • Review of outcome data on clinical effectiveness as identified from clinical trials included in a Cochrane review or WHO evidence base for guidelines on induced abortion or post-partum haemorrhage.

How was combipack quality determined?

Combipack quality was determined based on the misoprostol component. Where the misoprostol meets the quality standards outlined above, the combipack is included.

How is ‘availability’ defined?

A product is considered ‘available’ in a country if it was identified during an extensive data collection exercise at mostly retail outlets. These exercises have mostly taken place in low- and middle-income countries. Information has also been provided by social marketing organizations, distributors, manufacturers and providers of such medicines in select countries.

How is the database updated?

Availability of drugs and medicines is an ever-changing field in many countries, and it is possible that changes in availability have occurred since our last update. IPPF strives to keep the database updated with the latest information. We welcome input from partners and will ensure any information provided is verified before being included on the website.

If you notice that a product is not listed, or that one is listed but no longer available, please get in touch.