FOR THE first time, the medical needs of patients are being thwarted by a political and economic battle involving the "unborn." The threat of boycott by the antiabortion advocates is blocking or delaying the availability of RU-486 (mifepristone) as a drug of proven or potential value in Cushing's disease, meningioma, and breast cancer. As RU-486 poses no religious or moral issue in patients who are not pregnant, have no intention of getting pregnant, or are incapable of pregnancy, it may be concluded that the drug ban self-imposed by Hoechst-Roussel because of the issue of abortion and contraception should be lifted from studies of its medical application.
RU-486 ([11β(4-dimethyl-amino phenyl)]17β hydroxy[17α prop-1-ynyl]estra-4,9-dien-3-one), or mifepristone (originally named RU38486), is best known as an antiprogestin abortifacient or contraceptive,1-3 but its clinical potential extends beyond this. Apart from its antiprogesterone effects, the focal action of this drug as a blocking agent to corticosteroid