5 Apr 2018

Condoms rationed due to global supply shortage

4:20 pm on 5 April 2018

So just tone it down a bit, ok?




Photo: 123rf

A global shortage of condoms is leading New Zealand doctors to ration prescriptions of the contraceptive products. 

The shortage affects Durex Confidence 56mm condoms, which are available by prescription subsidised by Pharmac - the Government’s drug-buying agency.

In a letter to general practitioners, Pharmac warned that the shortage has led to shortages of other condom brands, including the Gold Knight Larger, which is now out of stock. 

Pharmacists have been told by Pharmac to dispense 72 condoms (6 boxes of 12) rather than the usual 144 condoms (12 boxes of 12) per-prescription.

Pharmac has also asked doctors not to specify a brand of condom when writing prescriptions, as it funds five other types of condoms, in varying sizes, which remain available. 

“Some people may have a preference for a particular brand on condom and may be uneasy about changing,” the letter reads.

“Patients can be assured that all the brands of funded condoms are effective and safe to use and that the differences in the condoms themselves are minor.” 

A Durex spokeswoman has confirmed the Confidence 56mm condoms condoms are are low in stock globally, but says alternatives are available. 

Durex Extra Safe 56mm condoms, which are 0.010mm thicker than the Confidence product, are still available through Pharmac. 

The shortage of Durex Confidence has led to an increase in demand for Durex Extra Safe condoms, leading the company to order extra stocks of the 56mm, 0.075mm thick condoms.

“New stocks of Durex Extra Safe condoms are expected to arrive in NZ at the end of April to cater for increased demand following lower supply of Durex Confidence,” the spokeswoman said.

According to Durex, which is owned by British multinational Reckitt Benckiser, short-term supply issues only affect Durex Confidence. 

The brand’s products are still available over-the-counter in supermarkets and pharmacies.