Misoprostol is the synthetic analog of natural prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) used to prevent gastric ulcers. It has also been used as an abortifacient for the past years. This medication treats postpartum hemorrhages as well, especially in poorer regions where access to health systems are precarious.
Misoprostol is currently being legally used in several countries to perform a safe medical abortion. In Brazil, Misoprostol was first introduced in 1984 through the lab Searle (now Pfizer) and under the trade name Cytotec. Until 1991 it had no restrictions regarding its commercialization in pharmacies, since it had been approved for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
After finding out the abortifacient properties of Misoprostol, the Brazilian Ministry of Health limited its sale only for individuals duly accompanied by a medical prescription.