The Coronavirus Pandemic May Cause a Global Condom Shortage

“It will take time to jumpstart factories and we will struggle to keep up with demand at half capacity,” Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters.

“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 [programs in Africa], the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”

And Karex Bhd isn’t the only producer that has faced a setback due to the pandemic. Many condom factories in China were also forced to shut down or work at reduced capacity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic impacts every single link of the supply chain for sexual and reproductive health products – from the production of critical raw materials, to international shipping and clearing of those products, to delays in regulatory approvals, Chris Purdy CEO of DKT International, a global nonprofit aimed at providing communities with family planning services and HIV/AIDS prevention, tells PEOPLE in a statement.

Purdy warned of shortages in other contraceptives as well, such as oral contraceptive pills, as pharmaceutical manufacturers in India are also experiencing setbacks because of a shortage of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) from Chinese suppliers.

“Over concerns of supply shortages, the Indian government has now prohibited manufacturers from exporting any products containing progesterone, a critical hormone used in many contraceptives,” he told Health.

Purdy added that these shortages will likely be less of an issue for U.S. and European markets, but that they will feel the effect nonetheless.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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