This year has seen a marked decrease in the number of abortion pills seized by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). 

“In 2019, a total of 288 tablets were detained. Of these, 237 contained misoprostol and 51 contained mifepristone,” a HPRA spokesperson said.

“In 2020, for the period of January to May, a total of 26 tablets have been detained, 24 containing misoprostol and two containing mifepristone.” 

The spokesperson added that “while the relative decrease in detentions for 2020 is noted, the HPRA is unable to say if this is due to Covid-19”.

In January last year, the HPRA seized over 700 abortion pills in 2018, while almost 500 pills were seized in 2017. 

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was enacted in December 2018. According to the first annual report on the operation of the Act, a total of 6,666 terminations were carried out in 2019.

“The HPRA continues, from time-to-time, to detain unauthorised and prescription-only abortifacient-containing medicines that are being supplied in an unauthorised manner into and within Ireland, contrary to Irish legislation,” the HPRA spokesperson said. 

“The HPRA works with Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána with regard to the illegal supply of all prescription-only and unauthorised medicines and strongly advises members of the public not to purchase prescription medicines online, as there can be no guarantee of their safety, quality or efficacy.”

To inform members of the public about the dangers associated with buying prescription medicines online, the HPRA has published an advice leaflet, which is available on its website, www.hpra.ie.