Free 'NYC' condoms smuggled to Dom Rep and sold illegally for cash


Large numbers of the New York City-branded condoms that are distributed for free across the five boroughs under a city Health Department program are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and sold for cash.


The distinctively labeled NYC Condom can be found in stores across this Caribbean country — even in this tiny beach town on the Dominican east coast. At the Las Galeras Pharmacy, they are sold for about 50 cents each — a better deal than Durex condoms, which sell for more than a dollar.


A few dozen of the NYC Condoms are displayed in neat rows alongside other condoms, pregnancy tests and lotions in a glass display case at the front of the store.


“We buy them from a provider here in the Republic,” said pharmacist Francisco Pallano. “They distribute them to any pharmacy that wants them.”


He claimed he did not know the distributor’s name.


The New York City Health Department gives away 38 million NYC Condoms a year in an effort to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV, and limit unplanned pregnancies.

The NYC Condoms come in a chic wrapper stamped “Not for Resale.” They are manufactured for the city at taxpayer expense by Ansell, the same company that makes LifeStyles condoms.


The Health Department provides the NYC Condom, in bulk, to 3,500 nonprofit groups and businesses, including bars, restaurants, nail salons, barbershops and hospitals, for free distribution.

Health Department officials acknowledged they’ve caught some businesses shipping the free condoms out of the country.


At least five businesses have been booted from the program since it began in 2007, including one caught sending the rubbers to the Dominican Republic.

A department spokeswoman declined to name the businesses. “We estimate that the lost condoms are a very small percentage of overall distribution,” she said.


But the NYC Condom is so popular in the Dominican Republic that it turned up in a 2012 report from market researcher Euromonitor International.

The researchers found them at corner stores and pharmacies in Santo Domingo and smaller cities such as Mao and Esperanza.


“The NYC brand is intended for free distribution to high-risk populations in New York City and is increasingly smuggled into the Dominican Republic and resold illegally,” the report found.

The city has a pair of five-year contracts with Ansell, at a total cost of $5.7 million, to manufacture the condoms — which come in an assortment of varieties, including extra-large and ribbed — as well as lubricant packets, according to documents filed with the city controller’s office

“These are supposed to be free for New Yorkers,” said City Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Health Committee.

“We should ensure that no one is taking condoms from places in New York City where they are needed and selling them for profit out of the country.”

Dominican Watchdog Note - Nobody, knows Monkey Business, like the Dominicans!!!

Go back | Date: 09 Jun 2014
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