1. Archive

Abortion pill in U.S.: a long wait?

The pharmaceutical firm that manufactures the French abortion pill predicted Monday that the drug won't be available for use in the United States for up to five years.

Edouard Sakiz, president of Roussel-Uclaf, said the delays result primarily from U.S. drug firms' fears of incurring the wrath of the anti-abortion lobby.

Roussel-Uclaf, a French subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical giant Hoechst, has been seeking a U.S. firm to make and market the drug under license to avoid boycotts.

Sakiz said in an interview published Monday in the business daily La Tribune Desfosses that no major American pharmaceutical firm seems interested in making the pill, dubbed RU-486.

"No important laboratory is ready to take the risk of putting the abortion opponents on its back," Sakiz said.

In France, the treatment is administered only under a doctor's supervision at state-run hospitals.

Sakiz said that the private, decentralized U.S. system would make administering the drug only in hospitals impossible without a law and that such a law would be difficult to pass in the face of opposition from abortion foes.