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Abortion Rights Group Advances Mifepristone in the U.S

Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM), a small New York-based abortion rights group, plans to offer mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) free to 10,000 women as part of an effort to make the drug available to American women. The group has approval from the Federal Drug and Food Administration to use its own version of the drug in research trials. Although the Population Council, also a New York based group, holds patent rights for mifepristone, other groups conduct research on patented drugs, but cannot use them for commercial gain. Lawrence Lader, the group’s President, says that with new funding from the John Merck Fund, the Abortion Rights Mobilization will add research sites to New York City, Westchester County, Texas, Maryland and Florida. Currently, the group has provided approximately 1,000 women with the pills free of charge, although the women do have to pay for two required doctor’s visits where mifepristone and a prostaglandin is administered. Lader commented, “We have the money, and this will provide coverage for women in all different parts of the companyƒObviously, the long-term answer to getting mifepristone to American women will have to come from the Population Council. We’ll get out of the business as soon as they’re ready. But who knows when that will be?” The Population Council has currently run into problems with its manufacturer and is exploring whether the Abortion Rights Mobilization’s manufacturer, so far not publicly known, is capable of full-scale production

Sources:

New York Times- July 2, 1997