Access to Safe Medical Abortion

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  7. Access to Safe Medical Abortion

Concept Foundation’s goal for Safe Abortion is to ensure that all women have access to safe, affordable and reliable products or methods for the termination of pregnancy.

Unsafe abortion compromises the lives and long-term health of women and girls, overwhelmingly in low- and middle-income countries, where the majority of the estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year. For many women especially in poorer countries, legal restrictions around abortion leave them with limited safe options. Even in countries with less restrictions, access to medicines that are efficacious, of good quality and affordable is not guaranteed. That is why working to increase access to quality-assured, affordable abortion medicines, providing women with a choice to determine their sexual reproductive health is crucial to Concept Foundation’s work to save women’s lives and promote healthy futures.

Market shaping

Concept Foundation in partnership with the World Health Organization and Sun Pharma has developed a quality-assured mifepristone-misoprostol “combipack,” Medabon, for the safe termination of pregnancy. Mifepristone-misoprostol in a combination kit is more efficient than using mifepristone or misoprostol alone, promotes adherence to treatment and is less invasive than surgical procedures. The combipack can be self-administered, encouraging self-empowerment by giving women the choice to make a decision with dignity. Medabon is the only quality-assured combipack available in LMICs and with the support of Concept Foundation, has been registered and introduced in 27 countries.

To date, Medabon, has contributed to the prevention of more than 5 million unsafe abortions, saved more than 100,000 women’s lives and prevented many more complications and fertility problems.

Constrained health budgets and increasing competition for resources, however, means that price remains a driving factor for procurers, influencing choice and access. Unfortunately for the women in need, most of the lowest priced products available in the market are not quality-assured. To address this barrier, Concept Foundation is continuing to work with manufacturers to negotiate affordable prices and bring to market more quality medical abortion commodities in countries where maternal death is high and access is needed. This is stimulating competition and safeguarding a sustainable market for quality products at prices that women can afford.

We are also working with partners to conduct assessments and analyze global and country-level markets to develop comprehensive strategies to strengthen systems for procurement and support the scale-up of safe, effective and affordable mifepristone-misoprostol combinations.

Market access

Assuring the quality of products is critical to ensuring medicines are effective and safe for use, particularly in countries where drug regulatory capacity may be weak. Concept Foundation is working with industry leaders of medical abortion products and providing technical expertise to support them towards earning WHO prequalification or approval by a stringent regulatory authority (SRA).

For products that earn WHO prequalification or SRA approval, it is critical to map a clear pathway forward to ensure that they reach women in need. Concept Foundation supports registration and product introduction by conducting technical assessments and providing technical support with dossiers, collecting market intelligence and providing assistance through capacity building activities. Health care providers have received training in the use of combipacks in parallel with country-level advocacy campaigns. Concept Foundation continues to provide expertise in these core areas to expand access to quality assured medical abortion commodities.