The spate of deaths caused by abortion drugs in the state has alerted the Food and Drug Administration to the issue. The FDA has now trained its guns on distributors and online retailers selling MTP (medical termination of pregnancy) kits.
The FDA has detected two websites selling MTP kits and strict action is likely to be intitiated against them, according to a senior FDA official. For the last one week, the FDA has also been monitoring distributors who stock such kits.
The rules governing the sale of abortion drugs and MTP kits are strict since they deal with Schedule I drugs. The current episode at Mhaisal, where a woman lost her life due to improperly induced abortion, has revealed that such drugs are illegally yet freely available in the state. Health activists and pharmacists' associations have often pointed out that the FDA's lax governance and monitoring of the issue have compounded the problem. Illegal abortions could get a boost if the drugs are available easily online, warn activists. They allege that the FDA has still not taken the issue seriously.
In the last one week, however, the Mumbai wing of the FDA has got its act together. 38 distributors' offices were under the scanner last week. Officials say that none of these was however found guilty of any malpractice. However, two websites - Med Plus and Med Mart, were found to be selling MTP kits online. FDA joint commissioner (drugs) Vineeta Thomas acknowledged that action was being contemplated against the two websites.