By TMO | May 15, 2008
Courtesy Shahid Ali Khan, Saudi Gazette
Riyadh – The campaign to boycott Danish products took a remarkable turn on Saturday when some leading healthcare providers in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries decided to avoid the use of prescription drugs imported from Denmark.
These healthcare providers said they would boycott all medicines imported from Denmark recently, and according to officials of a number of hospitals and pharmacies, the call has been spreading faster and louder.
“To make the campaign more effective in order to have a daunting effect on Denmark’s economy, we dispatched a letter to the Saudi Minister of Health, urging him to officially impose a ban on imports of Danish medicines,” said one official from a leading healthcare provider in Riyadh, who insisted on remaining anonymous.
Other officials participating in the campaign, who spoke also on condition of anonymity, said the call not to use prescription medicines from Denmark would put even more pressure on that country’s economy than the public’s boycott of foods, which started a few months ago.
Muslims were enraged over the publication of blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) first by a Danish newspaper. Around a dozen newspapers and magazines in European Countries later reprinted the cartoons.
Muslims have launched the campaign against Danish products, which were basically foods. Upon public demand, most supermarkets took Danish products off their shelves or stopped importing them from Denmark altogether.
The boycott on Danish foods was running up the losses of involved businesses into the millions. Now the healthcare sector has delivered yet another blow by launching the campaign, asking doctors, pharmacists and managements of all leading hospitals in the Kingdom and across the Muslim world and through e-mails not to use Danish medication.
“Please, pass on this e-mail to everyone and to protect our money,” said one e-mail message currently in circulation.
“As a leading healthcare group, we will stand up as one to boycott the Danish products, including the medicines,” said another message.
The call to boycott Danish medicine is being sent to all pharmacists, private hospitals and doctors to avoid prescribing those brand names that originate from Denmark.
Also, a list of medicines is being circulated to all private hospitals urging them to stop the purchase of medicines from Denmark. As the boycott has not yet reached the government level, the campaign runners said they are being cautious.
To make it more effective, they adopted a somewhat systematic approach by advising the purchase departments in respective hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to follow certain steps to reach even common people.
“We are not against anybody,” said one pharmaceutical manager, referring to the blasphemy, “but we also could not sit idle. We will respond if our sentiments are hurt.”
He said his office has dispatched a letter to Health Minister Hamad Al-Mane’, which also included a list of Danish medicines and proposed their ban.
“We are still waiting for a reply from the Minister’s Office,” said the manager.
“I have done my job ya Rasoul Allah…let us see others also do the same,” one wrote in an e-mail message showing reverence and obedience to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The list of Danish medicine was obtained from a pharmaceutical company in Sana’a, Yemen.
“During our last visit to Sana’a, we raised the issue of Danish medicines. Consequently, you asked me to send a list of these medications. Please find this list as attachment,” said one e-mail.
The list of Danish medicines included: Actrapid Penfill, Addi-k, Atryn, Betolvex (amp), bio-biloba (capsule), Bio-carotene cap, Bio-garlic cap, Bio-marine cap, Burinex, Calcipen, Cipralex, Cipram, Clopixol, Colimex, Daivonex, (crème and ointment), Dovenex, Elyzol (tablet), Elyzol syrup, Fluanxol, Fucibet, Fucicort creme, Fucidin (crème and ointment), Fucithalmic eye drops, Fucithalmic eye gel, Immohep insulitard, Low Centyl, Mixtard insulin, Novo mix, Novo norm, Novolent, Movomix Flexpen, Novo-pen, Novorapid Flexpen, One Alpha, Perlutex, Pondocillin, Protamine So4, Psorimed, Saroten, Selexid, Taclonex.
The health officials said these medications are available in the Saudi market, but those who want to boycott the products out of respect to Prophet Muhammad (s) could find similar products under various other brand names, which have similar efficacy made in other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and India.