What Does Informal Access to Misoprostol in Colombia Look Like? An Exploration From Two Urban Areas

Ann M. Moore , Guttmacher Institute
Nakeisha Blades, Guttmacher Institute
Juliette Ortiz, Orientame
Hannah Whitehead, Guttmacher Institute
Cristina Villareal, Orientame

Abortion is legal in Colombia under a variety of circumstances, yet women still access misoprostol without a prescription through informal drug sellers. Using data gathered from two urban centers via mystery clients (N=547) and interviews with drug sellers (N=259), we examine a) the interaction with a drug seller when a young, unmarried s tries to buy misoprostol and b) drug sellers’ knowledge of misoprostol (screening, information which should be imparted with a sale, dosage and routes of administration, and complications). 15% of the mystery clients were offered something to buy to bring about the termination; 84% of the drugs offered contained misoprostol. Providers said that misoprostol could be used up to a mean maximum gestational age of 6.5 weeks; 28% didn’t know how to calculate gestational age. In sum, locating an informal seller of misoprostol may be difficult in Colombia and information that women get from these providers is incomplete.

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 Presented in Session 68. Capturing Hard-to-Measure Outcomes in Sexual and Reproductive Health