Federal court prohibits distribution of “morning after pill” in Chile


A federal judge in Santiago has issued a ruling prohibiting the sale and the marketing of the morning after pill, because the drug’s anti-implantation mechanism qualifies it as abortifacient under Chilean law.

Judge Silvia Papa ruled in favor of banning the drug in a case that was brought before the court more than a year ago by Alejandro Romero, a lawyer and professor at the University of the Andes, against the Institute of Public Health.

In Chile, the morning after pill was first introduced in the market under the name Postinal, but its principal agent has always been Levonorgestrel. In 2001, the Supreme Court prohibited the sale of Postinal because of its abortifacient nature but it did not issue a direct ruling on Levonorgestrel.

For this reason, manufactures of Levonorgestrel labeled the drug with different names, such as Postinor 2, in order to continue selling it in the country.

The 40-page ruling by Judge Papa nullifies the authorization to market the drug.  She said her decision to accept the case was based on legal rather than moral principles.

The ruling means that authorities must remove Postinor 2 from the market immediately, as well as any other product that contains Levonorgestrel 0,75 mg, even if it is given out free of charge or by order of the government.

The director of the Institute of Public Health, Rodrigo Salinas, announced he would appeal the decision but he acknowledged that if the Supreme Court again rules against in the drug, the government will follow the decision.