Karnataka says no ban on condoms for minors, but wants pharmacists to 'counsel' them

The Drug Control Department received several petitions calling for action to be taken in this matter.
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The Karnataka's Drugs Control Department on Thursday, January 19 said that they are asking pharmacists to counsel minors who want to purchase condoms and oral contraceptives. The Department, however, denied issuing a circular to all pharmacists in the state, banning them from selling condoms and oral contraceptives to those below 18 years of age. Confusion prevailed over a circular reportedly issued by the department after an incident in which condoms were found in a school bag during routine checks.

Speaking to TNM, Bhagoji T Khanapure, Drugs Controller of Karnataka, said, “We have not issued any circular to that effect. This has been reported wrongly in the media. What we are trying to do is create awareness by telling pharmacists to counsel minors who want to purchase condoms and oral contraceptives.”

The incident that took place in November last year, where school students were found to be in possession of condoms, contraceptive pills, cigarettes, and lighters, sparked alarm and concern among parents, educators and officials. Following the incident, the Associated Management of Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) urged schools in the city to conduct regular searches in the school bags of students. 

Vice president of the Karnataka Registered Pharmacists Association Ravi Shankar told TNM that they have not received any circular or notice from the Drugs Control Department regarding the ban on the sale of condoms and other specified medicines to minors.

Media reports and social media conversations about the incident revealed shock and disappointment. Some felt this should have instead been viewed as an opportunity for education and open conversation. The sale of condoms and contraceptive pills does not require a prescription.

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