In some respite to the manufacturers of Durex Extended Pleasure and Kohinoor Xtra Time condoms, the Delhi HC stayed a government order that abruptly halted their production.
The central regulator had asked Reckitt Benckiser and its Indian partner TTK Protective to apply for separate licence because their condoms were benzocaine laced. The manufacturers ter med the order as whimsical because their application made 15 years ago declared use of the additive.
Justice Manmohan on Monday said the order asking the companies to surrender their license for the two products will not be acted upon.
Benzocaine is a local anaesthetic and pain-reliever. It works by temporarily numbing the area to which it is applied. Benzocaine cream or solution inside the condom de-sensitises the male sexual organ to help delay ejaculation and prolong erection during intercourse. Though a condom is not a drug in law, the manufacturer requires a licence under it. Advocate Nidhesh Gupta, appearing for Reckitt, contended there were 51 products in the Indian market which contain Benzocaine in varying amounts and which have been granted licence.
The Centre’s lawyer said there is no mention of Benzocaine in the licence that the regulator cleared February last.
The makers have argued they disclosed the use of benzocaine while acquiring their manufacturing licence in 2001 and have already sold 300 million pieces in the Indian market. But the regulator issued the notice on the ground benzocaine is a new drug used in the condom for which new license is required.