Morning-after pill rule sparks controversy

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In Fuzhou, capital of east Fujian Province, buyers of the morning-after pill have been told to register their names, phone numbers, and ID cards when purchasing the drug that can prevent pregnancy after sex.

The move has sparked controversy that people's privacy may be put at risk. Online criticism stated that the registration was a blatant breach of privacy.

The Fuzhou Food and Drug Administration, which implemented the rule on Dec. 21, said it was intended to protect women from the harmful misuse of the pills and illegal abortions.

The rule has also been enforced in several cities in the province, such as Xiamen and Sanming.

According to a new rule, pharmacies are required to record names and ID card numbers, and have to keep a record of quantities sold to each customer.

But the move hasn't been well received by the public with some pharmacies complaining to Xiamen Daily that many residents were reluctant to show their ID cards.

"Some consumers gave up the purchasing after they are required to tell their names because it is not an 'honorable' thing to purchase morning-after pills in traditional Chinese thinking," a staff member at a Xiamen pharmacy told the newspaper.

The new rule sparked heated discussion on many online forums.

One concern repeatedly expressed was whether people's private information would be safeguarded or leaked by pharmacy staff to make money.

Well the local drugstores give their answer that they are not well-equipped for the job. "We drugstores just follow the order to collect information and submit them to police and health authorities for scrutiny, and we don't have the resources to protect such data from leaking," said a drugstore staff member in Fuzhou.

Other discussion centered on the rule's impact on adolescent pregnancy, as young girls without ID cards would have difficulties buying such pills to preclude an unwanted pregnancy.


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