Cuba moves to end condom shortage by selling stock with ‘wrong expiration dates’

Miami HeraldApril 21, 2014 

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 Saturday in Vanguardia, the newspaper of the Communist Party in the central province of Villa Clara.

A Vanguardia report April 3 on the shortage 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 condoms be repackaged with the correct dates, the newspaper added. But the state-run enterprise repackaging the more than one million condoms in stock does not have enough workers to process the 5,000 condoms a 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 Center 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 Saturday.

“Due to the irregularities in the repackaging, which has provoked prolonged absences of the prophylactics throughout the country, the Public Health Ministry authorized the sale of the ‘Moments’ condoms in their current packages,” on April 4, the newspaper said.

Several Cuban bloggers commented acridly 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. The story was picked up in el Nuevo Herald and The Guardian in London.

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