Morning-after pills sold illegally on Twitter

September 30, 2016

The Jamaica National Family Planning Board (NFPB) is warning persons against purchasing emergency contraceptives from non-professionals on the black market, after learning that the pharmaceuticals are now being offered for sale on social media platform, Twitter.

"All contraceptives should be purchased in a pharmacy through a trained medical professional. First thing, you don't know if you're getting the real deal. You could be getting a product that has ingredients that are dangerous to your health," communications officer at the NFPB Leo O'Reggio advised.

This warning comes after a Twitter user recently announced that he now has the Postinor 2 for sale. The pronouncement was accompanied by a picture showing a box filled with emergency contraceptives. Upon contacting the individual while undercover as an interested customer, the individual admitted to THE WEEKEND STAR that he is not a pharmacist, and said he would not ask any questions of anyone who purchases from him.


Delivers to buyers


He went on to state that he sells the product for $1,500, which our news team later learned is $63 more expensive than those sold at a local pharmacy. The extra cost might be to cover delivery, as persons living in and around Kingston can have the product delivered to them. "Just tell me your location, and I will deliver it to you," he said.

THE WEEKEND STAR decided to probe the black market salesman further, to test his knowledge of the protocols involved in using the product. Our news team questioned if it was alright to take the pill even after taking it just three weeks ago, to which he responded, "Yeah, you should be good". However, medical professionals advise that emergency contraceptives should not be taken more than once a month as it may cause complications with the menstrual cycle and with future pregnancies.

Meanwhile, acting second in command of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch Superintendent Anthony Mclaughlin told THE WEEKEND STAR that he will be consulting with the relevant units in the division to ascertain whether they are aware of the illegal activity. He added that the individual is in breach of the Pharmacy Act, and can be fined, confined, or both.

According to the Pharmacy Act, "no person shall compound, dispense, store for sale or retail any drug unless (a) the compounding, dispensing, storing for sale or retailing, is effected (i) on premises registered as a pharmacy; and (ii) by a registered pharmacist or by a registered pharmaceutical student under the supervision of a registered pharmacist."


Seek professionals advice


Instead of risking their sexual and reproductive health by purchasing products from non professionals, O'Reggio is imploring persons to seek advice from their officers. "Contraceptives really should be prescribed by a doctor. For example, if you're thinking of going on the pill, you don't just go and buy one that you like. You have to get counselling from a doctor to find out what's your medical situation, and then they recommend which contraceptive is best for you," he said.

"Come to the National Family Planning Board for advice because we are the lead agency for sexual and reproductive health. If you can't come to us, then you go to a medical doctor, or a health clinic, and get advice," he urged.

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