The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) seized 188 fewer unauthorised abortifacient tablets last year compared to 2020, it has been revealed. In 2021, a total of 89 abortifacient tablets were detained; 84 containing misoprostol and five containing mifepristone.

This is a decrease compared to 2020, when a total of 277 tablets were detained. Of these, 272 contained misoprostol and five contained mifepristone. In 2019, a total of 288 tablets were detained. The HPRA “continues, from time to time, to detain unauthorised and prescription-only abortifacient- containing medicines that are being supplied in an unauthorised manner to Ireland, contrary to Irish legislation,” a spokesperson said.

The total number of tablets seized in 2021 was significantly lower than in the years prior to the introduction of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, which was enacted in December of that year. It was previously reported that the HPRA seized over 700 abortion pills in 2018, while almost 500 pills were seized in 2017. The HPRA’s spokesperson said it was “not aware of any evidence supporting any link between the Covid-19 pandemic” and the number of abortifacient detentions.

he Authority 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 freely on its website, http://www.hpra.ie.”