A nationwide shortage of prescription condoms for men with large penises is causing a concern of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Government drug-buying agency Pharmac says there is an ongoing "stock issue" with 56mm Durex Confidence large condoms supplies.

The crisis which started earlier this year was supposed to have been resolved by April - but there is still no end in sight.

Hilda Tan, international student pregnancy support at Pregnancy Help, said the shortage is causing a "worrying concern".

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A recipient, who did not want to be named, told the Herald he had to ask his doctor to prescribe condoms of a different size in order to get around the shortage.

"We are surprised there is a shortage, but there is obviously a worry when people turn to condom sizes that don't fit them," Tan said.

"When a condom is too big there is a high risk of spillage, and when a condom is too small there's a risk of breakage or bursting."

These could result in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

"We have cases of girls with unwanted pregnancies as a result of spillage," Tan added.

Tan said Pregnancy Help does not distribute condoms or advocate that they be used as a means of protection against pregnancies or STIs.

Hilda Tan, international student pregnancy support at Pregnancy Help, said the shortage is causing a
Hilda Tan, international student pregnancy support at Pregnancy Help, said the shortage is causing a "worrying concern". Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A local pharmacist unpacks a packet of condoms. Pharmac has now asked prescribers to not specify a brand of condom, and to ensure that the right size is being prescribed. Photo / Jason Oxenham
A local pharmacist unpacks a packet of condoms. Pharmac has now asked prescribers to not specify a brand of condom, and to ensure that the right size is being prescribed. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Chief executive Sarah Fitt said Pharmac has instructed pharmacies to limit the dispensing of condoms to a maximum of 72 at a time in the short term.

"Pharmac is continuing to manage a stock issue with Durex Confidence 56mm condoms, that has impacted the stock levels of all brands of funded condoms for the last few months," Fitt said.

She said Pharmac funded five other types of condoms in varying sizes, and the 60mm ones remained available.

In a letter to pharmacies, Pharmac said: "We are asking prescribers to not specify a brand of condom prescriptions, and to ensure that the right size of condom is being prescribed."

A sex worker in Dunedin said she could only get two boxes at a time on prescription.

"I ordered a bulk lot from CondomDepot online just to make sure we have enough stock," she said.

Pharmacist Jenny Kim of Unichem Wyndham St said she has been informed by Pharmac that it is working with another condom supplier, Gold Knight, to meet the demand.

"There is a shortage, and we are keeping to Pharmac's instructions of condom limits," Kim said.

Durex has been approached for comments.