Detection of Illegal Abortion-Induced Drugs Using Rapid and Simultaneous Method for the Determination of Abortion-Induced Compounds by LC–MS/MS

  • Ji Hyun Lee
  • Han Na Park
  • Nam Sook Kim
  • Hyung-Joon Park
  • Seongsoo Park
  • Dongwoo Shin
  • Hoil KangEmail author


With an increase in the number of individuals opting for illegal abortion, the use of counterfeit abortion medicines is increasing throughout the black market. In the present study, a rapid and simultaneous liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method for detecting abortion-inducing drugs in counterfeit medicines was developed. The parameters used for validating the method using tablet-, powder- and capsule-type matrix-blank samples were limit of detection (0.10–5.00 ng/mL), limit of quantitation (0.31–15.00 ng/mL), linearity (r2 > 0.998), recovery of spiked matrix-blank samples (83.1–114.5%), intraday and interday accuracy (86.4–113.5%) and precision (≤ 9.7% RSD) and stability (≤ 13.3% RSD). Seized tablet-type drugs, advertised for their abortion-inducing activity, were analysed using an established method and were observed to be adulterated with mifepristone and misoprostol in a concentration of 0.02–293.80 mg/g, which can pose a risk to public health. This study demonstrates the successful application of a fast and reliable screening method for detecting illegal abortion-inducing drugs.


LC–MS/MS Counterfeit drug Abortion Validation Screening 



This study was supported by research grants (MFDSAAT2018) from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.


This research was supported by Research Grants (MFDSAAT2018) from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) in Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji Hyun Lee
    • 1
  • Han Na Park
    • 1
  • Nam Sook Kim
    • 1
  • Hyung-Joon Park
    • 1
  • Seongsoo Park
    • 1
  • Dongwoo Shin
    • 1
  • Hoil Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Advanced Analysis, Toxicological Evaluation and Research DepartmentNational Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Ministry of Food and Drug SafetyCheongju-siRepublic of Korea

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