Use of morning-after pills increases sharply
The increase in the number of morning-after pills produced in Korea and consumed by Korean women is likely to bring about another round of controversy regarding how to categorize the pills.
The production of morning-after pills along with import amounts have increased by about 60 percent, according to the Korea Food and Drug Administration Wednesday.
The numbers rose from 372,500 packs in 2004 to 584,000 packs in 2010. One pack is available for one time usage.
The production amount of the morning-after pills in 2008 and 2009 were 630,000 and 846,000 respectively. The numbers have jumped by about 2.3 times.
According to statistics, Korean women are estimated to have been prescribed with about 600,000 morning-after pills every year. This is a three-fold increase compared to the 230,000 packs sold in 2002 when the pills were first introduced in the country.
The use of birth-control pills, however, reduced from 3.06 million in 2004 to 2.65 million in 2010.
The percentage of Korean women taking advance contraceptive pills only accounts for 2 percent whereas in France it is 36.4 percent, in England 26.5 percent. In the United States 14.3 percent take the pill, according to research by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs in 2009.
Except for one type of morning-after pill, all the others have become targets of re-categorization.
The Korea Food and Drug Administration has been pushing to designate contraceptive pills as drugs that need a doctor’s prescription. In response, the welfare ministry is considering an alternative solution where it can increase the accessibility of the pills and reduce the inconvenience. The ministry initially tried to conclude the categorization problem of the pills by the end of July but due to opposition, the decision has been delayed.