Malaysia-based Karex Bhdand the world’s biggest maker of condoms warned of a global shortage as supply falls by almost 50% while its stockpile is set to last for just another two months.
The company which makes one out of every five condoms worldwide only restarted its factories on Friday after a week-long closure due to Coronavirus.
Karex Bhd’s CEO, Goh Miah Kiat, told Reuters that he’s concerned that shortage could last for months in places like Africa, where condoms are distributed by aid programs, such as the UN Population Fund.
He says even thus that his company has been given permission to restart production on Friday but will be working with just half its workforce to comply with a lockdown that the country imposed to contain the spread of the virus.
The company produces for brands like Durex as well as its own line of specialty condoms such as Durian-flavored ones. It churns out more than 5 billion condoms a year and exports them to more than 140 countries. That has become more challenging as governments shut borders and airlines cancel flights.
“I would definitely say this is an unprecedented stage, we have never seen such a disruption,” Goh said in an interview on Friday.
Condoms could also get much more expensive, he warned. “We are still paying all our worker’s full salaries but workers only come in half the time so generally there will be a cost increase,” he said