The Irish Medicines Board says it is attempting to stop a website from providing women with a drug that could be used to carry out an abortion in this country.

Dr Joan Gilvarry said the drug, which is often referred to as the abortion pill, is illegal in this country and that there were serious health risks for women who used it without medical supervision.

The website is an online medical abortion service, which provides an online consultation and sends out an abortion pack that allows women to take medicines at home that will induce an abortion up to the ninth week of pregnancy.

The procedure is legal in some European countries, but only under strict medical supervision.

It is unknown how many women in Ireland have used this service.

Every week, customs is seizing around 400 packets of various medicines.

The website has not responded to queries made to it about its service.

But on the website it claims to help women get a safe medical abortion in order to reduce the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions.

The service says it does not require a payment but a donation to the website.

The Irish Medicines Board has contacted the website to ask them to stop supplying these products into Ireland and to inform them that it is illegal to sell or supply medicines over the internet.

The Board has also been in contact with authorities in Toronto Canada where it believes the website originated.