World Faces 'Scary' Condom Shortage

One of the top manufacturers shut down due to the coronavirus
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2020 3:10 PM CDT
'Scary' Condom Shortage Is Here
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

With millions homebound during the pandemic, we don't exactly need a condom shortage—and yet it's a real risk, the Guardian reports. That's because Malaysia-based Karex Bhd, the world's biggest condom maker, had to shut its three factories for a week due to a government-imposed lockdown. The shortfall comes to 100 million condoms in brands including Durex, which supplies government healthcare systems and aid programs. "We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary," says Karex CEO Goh Miah Kiat. "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."

What's more, Goh tells Bloomberg that demand is rising at "double digits" amid government stay-inside orders—just as people are trying to refrain from having kids in the face of a hazardous future. Luckily the factories reopened Friday, albeit at half-production, which means some condom prices could rise. "We are still paying all our workers full salaries but workers only come in half the time so generally there will be a cost increase," he says. Karex makes about 20% of the world's condoms while the rest come from India and China, two nations hard-hit by the pandemic. Malaysia is taking the brunt in Southeast Asia, with 2,161 infections and 26 deaths. (Read more condoms stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.