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Concern over online pill service
[Posted: Tue 24/06/2008 www.irishhealth.com]
Concern has been expressed about a new service which allows women to obtain the contraceptive pill and morning-after emergency contraception online.
Doctors and pharmacists have warned of the need for face-to-face contact with a medical professional before getting oral contraception.
Under the new service, women can obtain the pill over the without seeing a doctor.
The Irish Medicines Board has warned that supplying prescription-only medicines over the internet is a breach of legislation governing the supply of medicines.
It advised consumers not to purchase medicinal products over the internet.
Health consumers have been frequently advised in the past not to purchase drugs and medicines in this way due to safety concerns.
DrThom, the company providing the contraceptive service, has said it has doctors available on site to decide whether the pill should be prescribed based on information given to them by the applicant in an online form.
The company said the pill could then be dispensed by pharmacists if deemed appropriate.
However, doctors have expressed concern about the contraceptive pill being prescribed without a patient seeing a doctor.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) also today warned of the dangers of buying medicines over the internet.
The IPU emphasised the importance of face-to-face contact with a pharmacist when receiving medication.
The Union added that Irish women can experience problems in accessing the morning after pill (emergency hormonal contraception) and it called on the Government to enable pharmacists to provide the morning after pill to patients without a prescription.
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