National University of Singapore lifts ban on condom sales at campus store

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 4:31am

The National University of Singapore will allow a campus pharmacy to stock condoms after they were pulled from its shelves this week.

"The university does not restrict the sale of condoms on campus, and vendors can decide if they would like to carry these items," the school said in response to queries yesterday.

An earlier request was "a misunderstanding and this matter has since been clarified and resolved," it said.

That was a reference to comments by a spokesperson for the owners of the Guardian pharmacy, Dairy Farm Singapore, which said that condoms had been removed from the store's shelves this week at the request of the university's management.

"We understand that sales of family planning products are prohibited within NUS campus," Dairy Farm's spokesman said. "We have been in talks with them since Monday to negotiate for reinstatement of the products."

NUS, as the school is commonly known, is facing increasing competition. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech last year the city would have two more universities.

Singaporean students are 30 times less likely to use condoms when having sex for the first time compared with their counterparts in other countries, the Straits Times reported in October, citing an annual survey by condom maker Durex. The survey, carried out in 37 countries, found that the average age Singaporeans had their first sexual experience was 22.

"NUS is afraid of the implications that selling condoms might have on students living in dorms," said Darryl Tan, a life sciences major in his fourth year.

"If you want to have sex, you'll get it somewhere else. Taking condoms on and off shelves isn't the right way."

Singapore is trying to boost its fertility rate to cope with an ageing population and labour shortage, allocating SGD$2 billion (HK$12.5 billion) for programmes to address the issue.