China’s Counterfeit Condoms

China Daily reported yesterday on a counterfeit condom factory busted in the southeastern province of Fujian, and two other underground factories uncovered by the police investigation :

An underground workshop producing fake brand-name was busted after police found clues on an online marketplace.

Two owners of the workshop and more than 10 of their workers were detained in Jinjiang, Fujian province, during a raid on March 29, said an officer surnamed He with the city’s public security bureau.

[…]Police confiscated more than 2 million bogus condoms labeled Jissbon, Durex and Contex in the factory and its warehouse. While a knock-off prophylactic is priced at 1 yuan (16 cents), it costs less than 0.2 yuan to produce.

In February, police noticed that prices of brand-name condoms sold at a store on taobao.com, the country’s biggest e-commerce marketplace, were unreasonably low, and they bought some products to check, according to a police officer surnamed Xu with the bureau’s economic investigation team, which handled the case. After the products were proven to be fake, police took action.

[Source]

Bloomberg Businessweek’s coverage points to the government seizure of faulty imported condoms last month in Ghana, many of which were revealed to have been produced in China:

The police did not specify whether the condoms seized in the [Fujian] raid were faulty. Another recent case, however, gives reason to worry. In April, authorities from Ghana impounded more than 1 million substandard condoms, many of them imported from China. “When we tested these condoms, we found that they are poor quality, can burst in the course of sexual activity, and have holes which expose the users to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease,” an official from Ghana’s Food and Drug Administration told The Guardian. The country’s FDA discovered that many of the condoms came from a factory in China’s Henan province.

[Source]

Amid China’s AIDS epidemic — fueled by drug use, the country’s vast prostitution industry, and spread widely by state-run blood collection programs in the 1990’s — public safety campaigns have encouraged the use of condoms in recent years. Consumer confidence has been sliding in China, a country riddled with food safety scandals and a major player in the global counterfeit trade.

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