Global shortage of condoms looming

Photo: Head Topics

A worldwide condom shortage is impending as the world’s largest producer of condoms is forced to shut down production.

Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. And its three Malaysian factories were shut down under a coronavirus lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of the virus.

Its condoms are normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems such as Britain’s NHS or distributed by aid programmes such as the UN Population Fund.

The company was given permission to restart production on Friday, but with only 50 per cent of its workforce, under a special exemption for critical industries.

“We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary,” he said. “My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programmes … in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”  the chief executive, Goh Miah Kiat said.

Malaysia has had 2,161 coronavirus infections and 26 deaths. The lockdown is due to remain in place at least until 14 April.