Misoprostol knowledge and distribution in Mexico City after the change in abortion law: A survey of pharmacy staff

Greta Weaver, Raffaela Schiavon, Maria Elena Collado, Stephanie Küng, Blair G. Darney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective First-trimester abortion is widely available in Mexico City since legalisation in 2007, but few data exist surrounding pharmacy staff knowledge and sales practices. We describe misoprostol availability, whether a prescription is required, and knowledge of the legal status of abortion and uses for misoprostol among pharmacy staff in Mexico City. Methods Data were collected from 174 pharmacies in Mexico City. One employee at each pharmacy was asked about availability, need for prescription, indications for misoprostol, and sociodemographic information. Our primary outcome was availability of misoprostol. We used descriptive and bivariate statistics to compare knowledge and practices by type of pharmacy and staff gender. Patients and public involvement No patients were involved in this study. Results Of the 174 pharmacies, 65 were chain and 109 small independent. Misoprostol was available at 61% of sites. Only 49% of independent pharmacies sold misoprostol, compared with 81.5% of chain pharmacies (p<0.05). Knowledge of indications for misoprostol use was similar. The majority (80%) of respondents knew that abortion was legal in Mexico City, and 44% reported requiring a prescription for sale of misoprostol, with no significant difference between male and female staff or by pharmacy type. Conclusions Availability, requirement of a prescription, and knowledge of indications for use of misoprostol varies among pharmacies, resulting in differential access to medical abortion. Pharmacies may be a good place to target education for pharmacy staff and women about safe and effective use of misoprostol for abortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Mexico
  • medical abortion
  • misoprostol
  • pharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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