Issue of Prescription Medicines on the Web

June 21, 2011

Over the last few days ISPAI members have been receiving requests from campaigners to suppress information about abortion medicines that exists on the Internet. Previously there have been similar calls about other prescription medicines.

One particular site has been targeted by this latest campaign. The content of this website is not illegal and is hosted in Canada by a Women’s organisation. ISPAI members in Ireland will not block legal information that exists on the Web.

If for whatever reason, a person in Ireland decides to import prescription medicines into this country from unauthorised sources, their action has nothing to do with the Internet connection services provided by ISPs in this country. Any enforcement action that may be required on such importation is dealt with by the Revenue Commissioners, Customs and Excise Service in cooperation with the Irish Medicines Board and the postal/courier services.

ISPAI members provide Internet connection services as “mere conduits” under European and national e-Commerce law. It is the choice of every Internet user as to what websites they visit and by so doing cause the transfer of that content from the country of origin (where it is hosted) on to their computers and to display it on their screen. ISPs do not monitor content requests of customers nor suppress information which may exist on the Internet that “in itself” is not illegal; unless an order to so do has been made through proper judicial process in the courts of this jurisdiction.