This study sought to understand the experience of buying misoprostol online for pregnancy termination in Indonesia. We conducted a mystery client study August through October, 2019. Interactions were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, along with the contents of the packages. One hundred ten sellers were contacted, from whom mystery clients made 76 purchases and received 64 drug packages. Almost all sellers sold “packets” containing multiple drugs; 73 percent of packets contained misoprostol, and 47 percent contained at least 800 mcg of misoprostol. Thirty‐four packets contained insufficient drugs to complete an abortion. When compared to WHO standards, 87 percent of sellers imparted incomplete information about potential physical effects; no seller provided information about possible complications. Women buying misoprostol from informal online drugs sellers will be underprepared for understanding potential side effects and complications. Educational activities are needed to increase women's access to information about safe use of misoprostol as a harm reduction strategy.
Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.