Russia has banned sales of Durex condoms, produced by British company Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare, claiming that the contraceptives are not properly registered in the Russian Federation.
Federal healthcare watchdog Roszdravnadzor head Mikhail Murashko said on June 16 that the company's lack of proper documentation means its products cannot be sold legally in the country, RIA Novosti reported. Durex condoms, a leading brand in Russia since its market opened up in 1992, have reportedly been disappearing from shelves since last month.
Building on their original Western allure, Durex in recent years took a sales boost through some slick marketing along the lines of the old quip about "taking a shower in a raincoat". In January-March 2016, Durex was Russia's second most popular condom brand with a market share of 39.3% in money terms and 25.3% in unit sales, behind only Context, Kommersant reported.
Still, Durex products could return to the Russian market if they are submitted to technical, toxicological, and other tests, Murashko added, but stressing that the company "is required to observe the law".
The ban comes as an apparent contradiction to Russia's attempts to control sexually transmitted diseases as the total number of registered HIV cases in the country exceeded one million last year. A public health campaign in Moscow in 2015 focused on promoting faithfulness to partners rather than condom use.
Meanwhile, Russian officials insist that the ban won't lead to a shortage of condoms. According to Murashko, more than 60 kinds of sheath are registered in the country and Durex is "just one of the brands".