The Korea Herald


Morning-after pills to remain prescription drugs in South Korea

By 이다영

Published : May 20, 2016 - 18:23

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The South Korean government announced Friday that it will stick to its conventional measures on emergency contraception pills -- birth control measures used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy -- and continue to disallow over-the-counter sales at pharmacies. 
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Since 2012, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has been considering the option of designating the “morning-after pill” an OTC drug. It is known to be effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. The requirement of a doctor’s prescription may deter prompt access to the drug and reduce the contraception effect, the ministry said.

However, the proposal to make it an OTC drug received fierce criticism from the nation’s gynecologists and religious groups. Physicians, in particular, have argued that the drug’s overuse can pose a serious health threat to women.

“We also found out from our own research that only 36 percent of female teenagers were accurately informed about the drug and its possible side effects,” the ministry said in a statement, adding it plans to beef up education on safe birth control use.

By Claire Lee (