Roles of pharmacists in expanding access to safe and effective medical abortion in developing countries: a review of the literature

J Public Health Policy. 2012 May;33(2):218-29. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2012.11. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Unsafe abortion continues to be a major contributor to maternal mortality and morbidity around the world. This article examines the role of pharmacists in expanding women's access to safe medical abortion in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Available research shows that although pharmacists and pharmacy workers often sell abortion medications to women, accurate information about how to use the medications safely and effectively is rarely offered. No publication covered effective interventions by pharmacists to expand access to medical abortion, but lessons can be learned from successful interventions with other reproductive health services. To better serve women, increasing awareness and improving training for pharmacists and pharmacy workers about unsafe abortion - and medications that can safely induce abortion - are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal / standards*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Patient Safety
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional Role*