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Some 299 abortion pills detained by HPRA

In 2017, some 487 tablets were detained, with 449 containing misoprostol and 38 containing mifepristone, a HPRA spokesperson told the Medical Independent.

In the first six months of this year, 299 tablets were detained, with 275 containing misoprostol and 24 containing mifepristone.

Asked whether the HPRA was still involved in the detention of abortion pills, its spokesperson said: “The HPRA, in co-operation with the Revenue’s Customs Service, An Garda Síochána and other international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, continues to actively monitor the illicit supply of all prescription medicines in Ireland.”

Since the referendum vote in May to repeal the Eighth Amendment, a number of pharmaceutical companies have contacted the Authority to apply to supply abortion pills in Ireland.

The Authority has “received applications” and these are “currently being assessed under EU mutual recognition procedures”.

If the applications are considered acceptable, marketing authorisations can be issued “in late 2018”, according to the HPRA’s spokesperson.

“Efforts are being made to expedite the process but if it is not complete, the medicines can be supplied as ‘exempt medicines’ under prescription from a registered doctor for treatment of individual patients under their care in order to fulfil an unmet medical need,” they added.

Earlier this month, Minister for Health Simon Harris welcomed the publication of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill.

The Minister has said he remains committed to commencing abortion services in Ireland by 1 January 2019.

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