Lifestyle & Belief

South African court says Chinese condoms "too small"


A worker displays 'Clinton' brand condoms produced by the Guangzhou Haojian Bio-science Co during a promotion in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.


China Photos

A South African court has stopped the government from buying 11 million condoms from China on the grounds that the made-in-China condoms are too small.

But the problem is not what you might expect — the condoms in this case are for women.

Judge Sullette Potterill set aside a decision by South Africa's finance minister to award a contract for the supply of female condoms to a KwaZulu-Natal company that planned to import the condoms from China, Johannesburg's Citizen newspaper reports.

The Chinese female condoms, with the brand name "Phoenurse," have not been approved by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Agency or the South African Bureau of Standards, and are 20 percent smaller than the approved product, South Africa's Beeld newspaper reports.

As well, the Chinese condoms are made from polyurethane, instead of nitrile like the approved condoms.

Instead, the judge awarded the contract to a Cape Town company that can supply the correct product.

Judge Potterill of the Pretoria high court said it was unthinkable that a government department would have allowed a company to provide South Africans with condoms that aren't up to code, the Citizen reports. 

The judge ruled that female condom supply was an urgent matter because it affects the spread of HIV/AIDS. South Africa has more HIV/AIDS infections than any other country in the world.

Cape Town company Sekunjalo Investments Corporation will now supply the female condoms, which are manufactured by Female Health Company (FHC) and approved by the WHO, FDA and SABS.

From GlobalPost in Havana: Condoms are not just for sex in Cuba