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    NRI brothers plan to take on Durex with cut-price condom

    London (PTI): Two London-based NRI brothers plan to take on the mighty Durex Corporation with a cut-price condom aimed at young women.

    Shandip and Ketan Shah, who run a pharmacy in London, told The Times that condoms were overpriced largely owing to Durex's near-monopoly of the market as it accounts for 95 per cent of all branded condom sales.

    They claimed that condoms in Britain are among the world's most expensive. Until 2006, a packet of 12 Durex condoms cost more than anywhere else in the world. That year Gordon Brown as Chancellor cut VAT on them from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent. Despite this British prices are still in the top three, behind Ireland and the Netherlands.

    The Shah brothers said that given the high rate of teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health in Britain, condoms should be far cheaper. Their new condoms, called Fusion, will be sold for 1.99 pounds for three compared with about 3.50 pounds for the Durex equivalent.

    The brothers told the newspaper they decided to launch the product after seeing a significant increase in the number of young women seeking emergency morning-after contraceptives at their pharmacy in the last three to four years.

    Fusion are packaged differently and are contained in a thin wallet the size of a book of matches. They are not instantly recognisable as contraceptives which the brothers hope will make them more appealing to women.

    Durex said it had no plans to cut its prices. "Research has shown that price is not a major factor in the decision- making process when people are buying condoms. The primary concern is for quality and not price," a spokesperson said. "Our reputation, which spans over 75 years, is based on the fact, we are committed to helping people have safer and better sex."



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