The health ministry has decided to permit doctors to prescribe emergency contraceptives to women in online examinations under certain circumstances, in July at the earliest.

Victims of sex crimes, women who cannot go to medical institutions due to anxiety, or who live in areas where institutions do not offer face-to-face exams for emergency contraceptives can get the prescriptions.

The ministry’s panel on revisions to online examination guidelines made the decision at a meeting on June 10.

The panel previously decided in May to make the prescriptions available to sex crime victims and women who reside in areas where they can't find a medical institution for a face-to-face examination.

At the June 10 meeting, however, a panel member asserted that prescriptions should also be given to women who have psychological barriers against face-to-face examinations at medical institutions.

Doctors involved in consultations on women’s health or sexual violence will assess applicants for prescriptions to determine whether they are suffering from anxiety.

The doctors who will conduct the online examinations will be limited to obstetricians and those who have completed training courses designated by the ministry.

Women who receive emergency contraceptives through online examinations will be required to undergo obstetricians' examinations three weeks later to confirm whether they were able to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

The ministry will add prescription of emergency contraceptives to the guidelines in July as an exceptional case that does not require patients to meet with a doctor in person.

It will be the second exceptional case listed in the guidelines, after online prescriptions were approved for patients who are trying to quit smoking.