Pharmacoeconomics of medical abortion: A review of cost in the United States, Europe and Asia

Amitasrigowri Murthy, Mitchell D Creinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Procedures for the termination of pregnancy have existed for many years. Vacuum aspiration, otherwise referred to as 'surgical' abortion, is a very common and safe procedure. Its efficacy and acceptability has been established and its complication rate is low. Medical abortion is a much more recent phenomenon. It is defined as early pregnancy termination with the use of abortion inducing medications, without surgery [1]. In contrast to surgical abortion, medical abortion is not as routinely offered, nor are many providers comfortable with its use. Medical abortion regimens currently available throughout the world include mifepristone (Mifeprex™, Aventis Pharma AG) and a prostaglandin analogue (usually misoprostol), methotrexate and misoprostol and misoprostol (Cytotec™ CD Serle & Co.) alone. In the US, minimal information exists directly comparing medical to surgical abortion. Most abortion surveillance data was collected by the Centers for Disease Control prior to the approval of mifepristone. In contrast, there is over a decade's worth of experience from Europe with both the use and provision of medical abortion. A complete review of these issues must include background information on the history and incidence of abortion, who chooses to get an abortion, who provides that service and at what cost. The cost issue is discussed using three different viewpoints: cost to the patient, cost to the provider, cost to society - mainly in the form of government expenditure and savings. Following the cost analysis, there is a summary of relevant information from countries in Europe, primarily the UK, France, Sweden and countries in Asia, mainly China and India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost
  • Economics of abortion
  • Medical abortion
  • Mifepristone
  • Misoprostol
  • Surgical abortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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