NEW ZEALAND HEALTH AUTHORITIES WARN ABOUT UNAUTHORIZED ABORTION DRUGS

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Karen Poutasi, New Zealand's director general of health, has issued a warning about taking morning-after and abortion pills that have been obtained from unauthorized suppliers. The warning comes after surveillance by the country's Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority — also known as Medsafe — discovered that several unapproved types of the pills were being sold to the public.

"Consumers can be exposed to substantial health risks if they take medicines, especially prescription medicines, without diagnosis and advice from an appropriately qualified healthcare professional," Poutasi said.

Several of the unapproved medicines, she noted, have been imported privately and advertised through a Chinese-language website during the last 18 months. Under New Zealand law, it is illegal to be in possession of a prescription-only medicine without having first obtained a prescription. Medsafe is currently working to eradicte all such drugs from the country and appropriately prosecute the distributors, said Poutasi.

"Women seeking pregnancy advice should talk to a doctor, pharmacist or authorised prescriber, especially in relation to medication, " she said. "It is important that women do not take morning after pills, oral contraceptives or abortion medicines that have not been approved for use in New Zealand or are supplied without a prescription or consultation with an accredited healthcare professional."