Danish pharmaceuticals

Warning! This post is very old and may contain information or opinions that are no longer valid or embarrassing.

This post is not pro or against the boycott of Danish products. I am just asking you a question. An ethical one.

There are two very important international Danish pharmaceuticals. Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk. Lundbeck is one of the leading companies in producing drugs for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Novo Nordisk is the one of leading companies in making products for diabetic patients, from insulin to hi-tech means of injecting it.

Few days ago the director of the psychiatry institute in Ain Shams University entered the weekly clinical conference holding a copy of the Ahram newspaper opened on a full page apology by Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Behind her two men stood by, with Lundebeck pins on their suits. Obviously they were lundbeck med-reps. Lundbeck is very generous when it comes to donating money to the institute or any scientific event organized by it. There is undisputable conflict of interests, if you look at it from the boycotting team. She said that they are going to photocopy the apology and hang it in several locations around, as patients want to stop their Danish medications. The patients are in protest and she refuses their demands. Another professor explains that they can replace some of the drugs by other alternatives, but there are some injections with no alternatives on the market.

Some of the doctors sitting at the clinical conference was approving and the others were critical of the apology saying that it was not a complete apology by the Danish newspaper.

I know that many of you think that pharmaceuticals are not charity and they are perceived as evil by some. But as far as I know Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk have contributed a lot for the treatment of many diseases.

The ethical questions:

  • Do you think that doctors should stop prescribing Danish medications?
  • Should doctors involve their patients first?
  • Should doctors listen to their patients requests for boycott?
  • Even if the alternatives carry more side effects or are less effective?