Assessing the global availability of misoprostol
To assess the worldwide availability of misoprostol. Documenting the extent of misoprostol use in obstetrics-gynecology is difficult because the drug typically is unregistered for such indications.
Data for 2002–2007 on annual sales (measured in weight) to hospitals and retail pharmacies, plus manufacturer prices per 200-µg misoprostol, were analyzed for medications containing misoprostol alone or combined with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); regional and country-specific trends were identified. Consumer prices per pill are documented for all formulations of registered medications.
Of the misoprostol sold worldwide, 70% was misoprostol-NSAID-combination drugs; of this, 91% was sold in North America and Western Europe. Asia sold the most misoprostol-only drugs; sales increased dramatically in Bangladesh (by 128%) and India (646%), where various low-price brands are sold. Misoprostol sales decreased in Latin America but increased in the Middle East-North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa; these regions generally had low amounts sold per population.
Availability is improving in some low-income regions where misoprostol could significantly reduce maternal deaths due to postpartum hemorrhage and unsafe abortion.