Britain faces a condom shortage because of a legal dispute between the UK's leading provider, Durex, and its main supplier in India, prompting fears of an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
The Indian firm TTK Lig halted its supply of condoms to Durex in May after a dispute over pricing and distribution rights with Dulux's owner, Reckitt Benckiser.
The Indian company produces more than half of Durex's condoms, which account for around 40 per cent of the global condom market. The Slough-based company launched a High Court bid to force TTK to resume production and supply but the case failed.
The dispute is also pending a review at India's Company Law Board, a quasi-judicial body which decides on company disputes.
A shortage of condoms in Britain will not, however, affect the NHS, the Department of Health said yesterday. "NHS Supply Chain has made clear that condoms are available from alternative manufacturers," a spokeswoman said.