The government's health regulator has raised concerns over the rising number of women in Northern Ireland buying abortion pills over the internet.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency warn that many of the pills don't contain the advertised ingredients, making them dangerous as people don't know what they are getting.

It is illegal to have an abortion in Northern Ireland unless the pregnancy is life-threatening and the Family Planning Association says it's hearing more stories of women in Northern Ireland turning to the internet for an abortion.

Goretti Horgan from Alliance for Choice, a group which offer support to pregnant women in Northern Ireland and often help them travel to England to have an abortion, is equally concerned about the trend for buying pills online.

She said: "We find more and more that actually among the women we come across, we can't find anybody who has travelled any more because they have all used internet abortion pills."

According to a recent BBC investigation, many of the sites where 'abortion pills' are for sale don't even require medical information just credit card details.

Heidi Wright from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says it is worrying: "We are very concerned, firstly the abortion pill shouldn't be available online anyway.

"The main problem is if you are taking other products which are paracetamol then you could be overdosing on that."

These pills are from just one website but the Government's Health Advisor the MRHA says there are no guarantees of exactly what is in any abortion pill you buy online.

Nimo Ahmed, MHRA Acting Head of Enforcement said: "We urge people anyone thinking about having an abortion not to buy medicines from unlicensed sources. Medicines are not ordinary consumer products, there are specific health concerns with certain medicines that should be prescribed and dispensed under the supervision of a healthcare professional."

Posted 13/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com