The number of abortion pills detained last year is an increase compared to 2017, when a total of 487 tablets were detained, with 449 containing misoprostol and 38 containing mifepristone.
“740 abortifacient indicated tablets were detained, of which 711 contained misoprostol and 29 contained mifepristone,” a HPRA spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).
The available statistics for 2018 are up until 14 December.
2018 was the final year in which there was no legal access to abortion pills in Ireland.
The Authority approved the first ever abortion pill in Ireland last November.
“The HPRA has approved mifepristone 600mg (license number PA 2252/002/002) for termination of pregnancy on 30/11/18,” said the HPRA spokesperson.
The tablet’s marketing authorisation holder is the Nordic Group BV.
Abortion services became available in Ireland from the start of this year.
Speaking late last month, the Minister for Health Simon Harris welcomed the enactment of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
The Minister described the enactment of the legislation as “another truly historic moment” and added that “it paves the way for the introduction of the service for termination of pregnancy from January 2019”.
Asked how the new legislation will impact the HPRA’s actions in regards to abortion pills, the Authority’s spokesperson told MI that the “HPRA will only detain unauthorised and prescription-only abortifacient-containing medicines that are being supplied in an unauthorised manner into and within Ireland contrary to Irish legislation”.
According to the Department of Health, the legislation permits termination of pregnancy where there is a risk to the life or of serious harm to the health of the pregnant woman, in an emergency situation where such a risk is immediate, where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth, and without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.