Insert Health Risk Warning on Condoms – Court Orders Manufacturers

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High Court Igbosere

An Igbosere High Court, Lagos has ordered manufacturers of condom to warn users that it cannot guarantee 100 percent safe sex.

Justice Taofiquat Oyekan-Abdullahi ordered condom producers to insert the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) Health Risk Warning Clause in all condom adverts.

The APCON warning states: “Condom is not 100 per cent safe. Total abstinence or faithfulness is the best option.”

The judge also ordered that condom advertisements should be aired between 6pm and 10pm on television and between 6am and 8pm on radio.

Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi made the order in a suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of the Project for Human Development (PHD) against the Society for Family Health (SFH).

The ruling followed a consent judgment reached by the parties last month, but which was made available to The Nation yesterday.

PHD had through its counsel, Sonnie Ekwowusi, sought a declaration that the advertisement of ‘Gold Circle’ condom by SFH without the APCON health risk warning clause is illegal and unconstitutional.

Ekwowusi said it was contrary to Article 49 of the APCON Laws, Sections 17, 37, 38, 39 (3), 45 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 17, 18 27 and 29 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification Enforcement) Act, CAP 10.

The applicant contended that condom advertisements in Nigeria give the misleading impression that they are 100 percent safe.

According to the applicant, saying condoms offer “maximum protection” and “protects you against infections” is false.

Ekwowusi added: “If there are no holes in condoms, why would the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insist that manufacturers test for holes in condoms and consequently set an Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) that if up to four condoms have holes in a batch of 1,000, the batch will be allowed to pass?

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“Condoms, in addition to having possible manufacturing defects, could undergo deterioration during shipping, handling and storage, and even further degradation after purchase by the end user,” the applicant argued.

“To a greater or lesser degree, factors such as the following have been proposed as possibly contributing to the degradation of latex (and thus to condom failure): exposure to sunlight, heat (including body heat when placed in pockets or wallets), humidity, pressure, certain spermicides and even to atmospheric ozone (2).

“Besides, the condom may still suffer last-minute physical damage immediately prior to or during actual use, such as contact with pointed or sharp objects including fingernails and rings.

“From the above documented facts, it is very clear that the AIDS virus can pass through the latex membrane and it has also scientifically been proven that the AIDS virus does pass through the latex membrane.”

The Nation

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