Korea: Morning-after pills changed to OTC status, Daily BC pills changed to prescription only

Morning-after pills can be bought OTC.

South Korea used to sell most forms of birth control over the counter, with the morning after pills being prescription only. They have reversed this trend, putting nine of eleven brands of morning after pill over the counter. Note: the articles in English do not specify if prescription status of Ulipristal acetate is affected in this change.

The KDFA justification for changing daily administered birth control pill brands to prescription status is due to their side effects, which were listed at the Korea Herald as: thrombosis, thromboembolism, thrombo puerperalis, myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage and cerebral thrombosis among others. The pills are banned from being administered to women with breast cancer, endometrial cancer, hepatitis and thromboembolism. Their use is also restricted among women who are over 40 years old, obese, have headaches, depression or other related conditions.

The Korean association of OB-Gyns is not in favor of putting morning after pills over the counter, citing studies that show that their availability does not reduce abortion demand.
The Catholic Diocese of Cheongju has registered opposition, stating that they will call for KFDA head Lee Hee-sung to resign.

In the above linked report, as with most news articles in countries where abortion has become controversial, there is the unsupported claim that the BC works only by affecting ovulation.

In opposition to this, the Drinks Business Review reports:
“KFDA officer Cho Ki-ho said  according to their panel of experts, the main mechanism behind the emergency pills is the interference of hormonal action, linked to interference of implantation.”

“”We are hoping that the wider access to the morning-after pill will prevent unwanted pregnancies. Because the drug is effective within 12 hours from sexual intercourse and at utmost 72 hours, time and access to the drug is very important. The pill is not an ordinary contraceptive. It is for very limited, urgent and frightening situations only,” Cho said.”

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