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Pharmaceutical Giant Issues Abortion Drug Warning

Apr 21, 2001 | RFM News Searle, the pharmaceutical giant, which manufactures Cytotec, issued a warning about the drug's use. According to Searle, Cytotec is being wrongfully used in pregnant women to induce labor and in the performing of abortions.

One such medical facility reportedly using Cytotec is Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois which has been at the center of a controversy concerning the use of what some call the "live-birth abortion" method.

In a letter written by Dr. Michael Cullen, Searle's Medical Director, the company warned health care providers nationwide that Cytotec should not be used on pregnant women. "The purpose of this letter is to remind you that Cytotec administration by any route is contraindicated in women who are pregnant because it can cause abortion. Cytotec is not approved for the induction of labor or abortion," Cullen wrote. "Searle has become aware of some instances where Cytotec, outside of its approved indication, was used as a cervical ripening agent prior to termination of pregnancy, or for induction of labor, in spite of the specific contraindications to its use during

Searle also stated no research has been conducted, "concerning the use of Cytotec for cervical ripening prior to termination of pregnancy or for induction of labor, nor does Searle intend to study or support these uses."

Searle's letter was issued on August 23rd of last year. However, it is reported Christ Hospital continues using Cytotec to induce labor in women seeking abortions and, reportedly, to induce normal full-term deliveries. The abortion procedure sometimes results in the birth of a live baby, which is then left to die without any medical assistance or intervention.

Christ Hospital is part of the Advocate Health Care System of hospitals that includes eight other medical facilities in the Chicagoland area. The "live-birth abortion" method, used by Christ Hospital and another Advocate facility, Lutheran General in Park Ridge, is also performed by numerous abortion providers across the nation and in Canada.

There have been multiple lawsuits nationwide concerning the use of Cytotec. Searle's warning to health care providers that, "Serious adverse events reported following off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women include
maternal or fetal death," is seen by some legal experts as a means to escape liability in future litigation.

Cytotec was originally developed for the treatment of ulcers. Yet despite the warning from Searle, some abortion providers are still using Cytotec. It is estimated ten women nationwide have died because of the improper use of Cytotec.

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