Health Ministry receives more than 50 complaints on online sales abortion pills

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 24 raids targeting the product were conducted from 2016 to 2019 involving seizures worth RM95,233. — Bernama pic
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 24 raids targeting the product were conducted from 2016 to 2019 involving seizures worth RM95,233. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 ― The Health Ministry (KKM) has received 51 complaints on online sales of abortion pills in 2018 and 2019 which could be abused for illegal abortion as its usage is banned in the country.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement today said 24 raids targeting the product were conducted from 2016 to 2019 involving seizures worth RM95,233.

“During the same period, 302 websites were detected violating regulations enforced by KKM and from the total, 98 websites were sent to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to be blocked,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that KKM via the Pharmacy Enforcement Division had also sent notifications to e-commerce platforms based in Malaysia to bring down advertisements on abortion pills.

He also said the pills were also acquired illegally from abroad via online or smuggled by sending them to the buyer using postal and courier services.

“For that, KKM will cooperate with postal and courier service companies to block the purchase of such pills through online or smuggling from overseas,” he said.

KKM viewed the matter seriously as the sales of abortion pills such misoprostol  and mifepristone online as well as consuming them without the supervision of registered medical practitioners can result in uterine rupture, heavy bleeding and infection which can result in death if not treated.

He said taking abortion pills can also cause birth defects if the termination of pregnancy is not successful after taking the pills.

“Misoprostol is an unregistered product and the holder of the product's registration had cancelled its registration with the Drug Control Authority in November 2016 and is therefore not allowed to be sold in Malaysia.

“However, it is frequently abused without doctor's supervision to terminate pregnancy,” he said.

The sales of unregistered products is in violation of Regulation 7(1) (a) of the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984 and it is an offence under Regulation 30 (1) and can be sentenced under Section 12 (1) of the Sales of Drugs Act 1952.

“Individuals face a fine not exceeding RM25,000 or jail not more than three years or both for the first offence and fine not more than RM50,000 or jail not more than five years or both for the subsequent offences,” he said. ― Bernama

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