USAID Should Contract With Asian Companies to Produce Condoms, Boston Globe Editorial States
USAID should procure a waiver allowing it to contract with Asian manufacturers to produce condoms for the developing world, a Boston Globe editorial states. USAID is looking to purchase up to 550 million condoms next year for distribution in developing nations and is currently weighing the bids of several companies for the contract. Asian manufacturers have said they can produce condoms for 2.5 cents apiece, but the American companies might charge "as high as 10 cents" per condom. "Buy America" laws stipulate that federal money spent on products destined to be used abroad must be spent on American-made products. However, USAID could get "more than twice as many [condoms] for the same cost" if it awards the contract to an Asian manufacturer, the editorial states. The editorial says, "Despite the impact on U.S. jobs, the course is clear in the face of the worldwide public health catastrophe that AIDS presents. ... Paying a premium for the condoms to protect U.S. jobs might be defensible if there were a surplus of the life-saving latex prophylactics. But there is a shortage." The editorial concludes that donor governments and agencies must "have more condoms in the supply line. Getting a waiver for AID to buy overseas is a logical step in that direction" (Boston Globe, 8/14).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.