Hoping to resolve a shortage of condoms that has sparked complaints around Cuba, the island’s public health system has approved the sale of more than one million prophylactics with apparently expired dates.
Pharmacy sales personnel must explain to the buyers that the condoms are good and simply have the wrong expiration dates, said a report on Saturday in Vanguardia, the newspaper of the Communist Party in the central province of Villa Clara.
A Vanguardia report on April 3 said that the government agency in charge of certifying medical items in 2012 had noticed erroneous expiration dates on the `Moments’ prophylactics imported from China.
The agency ordered the that the condoms be repackaged with the correct dates, the newspaper reported. But the state-run enterprise repackaging the more than a million condoms in stock does not have enough workers to process the 5,000 condoms per day required just in Villa Clara province.
Vanguardia did not publish the “wrong” dates, but its report hinted that they showed the prophylactics had expired or would soon expire. The shelf life of condoms is very long, it said.
“Although the lots are in optimal conditions, under the certificate of the Centre for the State Control of Medicines and Medical Equipment the condoms could not be sold without the new expiration date, December of 2014,” Vanguardia reported.
“Due to the irregularities in the re-packaging, which has provoked prolonged absences of the prophylactics throughout the country, the Public Health Ministry authorised the sale of the ‘Moments’ condoms in their current packages,” on April 4, the newspaper said.
Several Cuban bloggers commented on the shortage long after April 4, with some noting that it could lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies and abortions.