Medical watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized 17 packets of counterfeit condoms in Hounslow, prompting a warning about fake condom use in London.

SSL International plc, the legitimate manufacturer of the Durex Extra Safe condoms is now cooperating with the MHRA to remove the counterfeit products from the market.

The counterfeit condoms were found to have no trace of the rubber accelerator normally used by the manufacturer, but have the same batch number (20604354) as that of genuine product which was distributed in the UK between 18 March and 27 May 2005.

Will Nutland, from HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, told the South London Press that the fakes are dangerous, “These condoms have been sold in London, potentially in the Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Wandsworth areas.

“People who are worried they might end up buying the counterfeit condoms should definitely follow advice and check the code on the box.

“The vast majority of condoms are safe and they’re still the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.”

The manufacturer estimates that all relevant genuine products should be sold out by now.

Counterfeit condoms may not be manufactured to the appropriate British or European standards, and cannot be considered to provide adequate protection against sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy. Durex and the MHRA advise not to use condoms which could be counterfeit.

Customers who think that they have purchased counterfeit condoms from this batch should contact the Durex consumer helpline on 0800 338 739.

The box of the counterfeit product is difficult to distinguish from the genuine packaging and only on opening can counterfeit condoms be found to have different characteristics to these of the genuine product.

Counterfeit condoms may have a different profile, may be dotted and may be fragranced with a fruity smell.