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Teva links to Israel prompt boycott by UK contractors

Pharmacists taking part in the boycott told C+D they were no longer accepting products from Teva in the hope it would encourage the Israeli government to reconsider its treatment of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip

UK pharmacists are boycotting Israel-based generics manufacturer Teva over the conflict in Gaza.


Contractors taking part in the boycott told C+D they were no longer accepting products from Teva - which has a presence in around 60 countries - in the hope it will encourage the Israeli government to reconsider its treatment of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.


Teva, which has its headquarters in Israel, told C+D that its local and global operations were continuing uninterrupted.


A press release for the Boycott Teva campaign, which was launched on July 18, said the boycott was set up in response to Teva's tax contributions to the Israeli government. The boycott was not "politically or religiously motivated" and had been launched after "lengthy deliberations and consultations" about the potential impact on patients and the sector.


Sayeed Mansoor, a pharmacy chain operations manager who set up the Boycott Teva Facebook group, said around 200 pharmacists had been in contact over the past two weeks to say they were joining the boycott.


Mr Mansoor told C+D he was optimistic the campaign would be successful.

"Boycotts and sanctions were very effective at getting the apartheid government in South Africa to change its stance. We're hoping to replicate the same effect," said Mr Mansoor, who buys generic and branded drugs for an undisclosed pharmacy chain.


Murtaza Master, owner of the Masters group of pharmacies in the West Midlands, told C+D he had written to his suppliers to request his six pharmacies were no longer supplied with Teva products. Mr Master's letter said the chain would "endeavour to phase [out] Teva purchases over the next 12 months".


Nadim Tahir, manager of online pharmacy iPharm UK, told C+D that he had first heard about the campaign via social media.


"It's not about religion, it's about humanity," said Mr Tahir. "We're not ordering anything from Teva [and] we're talking to patients and explaining why this boycott is taking place."


Amir Riaz, owner of online pharmacy i-dispense, said the cost of boycotting Teva was "marginal". "I had a meeting with the partners and we concluded that it wouldn't harm the business or patients - that's when we decided to avoid Teva," Mr Riaz told C+D.


Asad Khan, manager of Elaj pharmacy in Leeds, told C+D that his boycott had been prompted by requests from patients for an alternative to Teva's generics.


"After what has been taking place in the Middle East, people are more aware about where their brands are coming from. I think pharmacists are taking it upon themselves," Mr Khan said.


Shaheed Fazal, director of the Dispharma pharmacy chain in the West Midlands, said the boycott was an "ethical stand" that he hoped would bring about a "sustainable solution to the conflict".


The Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which began on July 8, had left "hundreds dead and thousands injured", the United Nations said on Tuesday (July 29).



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Would you be prepared to boycott Teva over its links to Israel?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

A message from Jennifer Richardson, Editor, C+D  

Dear readers,

We know that tensions and opinions are running high on the subject of Gaza across the country and indeed the whole world, not just in community pharmacy. The furore that has erupted on this article was not unexpected and it would have been easier not to publish. However, particularly in light of the level of international diplomatic condemnation of the conflict, this did not seem to be the right course of action. It did seem right that a publication for community pharmacy in the UK should write about the reaction of some in that sector to a current global issue. If community pharmacists had boycotted a company because of its headquarters in Syria, for example, we would also have considered running an article on that.

The article is about the boycott of a company because of its links to a particular state, not a religion or race. There is no place in the C+D community (or, indeed, anywhere) for racist remarks of the kind some have been posting over the past couple of days. Some of the posts have also been personal in nature and break the rule against trolling.

As a result, I have deleted/edited a large number of the comments on this thread and written to several of the offenders asking them to think more carefully about their posts.

C+D's forum is not pre-moderated – the comment facility allows users to post directly to the site. Instead, we have a Notification procedure for readers to alert us to comments that they believe breach our Community Principles or are otherwise unacceptable. For more information about the Community Principles and how to make a notification, please visit http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/community-principles

Those comments I have deleted from this thread are ones we felt clearly breached the Community Principles or were otherwise inappropriate/offensive. I have tried to do so while, where possible, maintaining the principle of freedom of expression – always a difficult balance, so if you feel that there are other comments we should look at, please let us know following the Notification procedure outlined at http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/community-principles.

The Community Principles also make clear that C+D retains the right to suspend or terminate the account of a user who repeatedly breaches them, particularly if we have previously had cause to write to him/her about other inappropriate comments. Accordingly, I have suspended one user as a result of his/her inappropriate comments on this thread.

It is not currently technically possible for us to turn off the comment facility on just one article; this ability is in development but for now we would need to disable comments across the whole site for a period of time. This is not a decision we would take lightly but is something we are actively considering in light of the huge number of inappropriate comments this particular thread has generated.*

Please could I respectfully ask all followers of this thread and especially those thinking of adding their voice to read C+D's Community Principles and think carefully about their contribution. It has over the past few years been a pleasure to see the number and range of readers commenting on articles grow and, in the main, develop the C+D site into a place for engaging debate about the issues affecting community pharmacy. It would be a shame for this to be overshadowed by a relatively (across the whole site) small number of inappropriate comments and offenders.

C+D provides the facility for users to comment with the aim of fostering a professional community in which its users can share views and best practice as well as robust debate. Thank you to all readers who contribute to our community in that spirit and to those who notify us of comments that fall short – it is much appreciated.

Jennifer Richardson Editor, C+D


**We have now found a way to isolate the 'Comment on this article' facility for individual articles. With regret, we have decided to temporarily suspend it on this article and the associated video blog only, over the weekend August 1-3.

We simply can't risk comments, of the level of offensiveness we have seen on this thread over the past couple of days, remaining on the site while there is no-one available to delete/edit them.

The facility will be reactivated on Monday, August 4.

To the vast majority of readers who contribute to the C+D community in the professional spirit in which it is facilitated, we are sorry for the inconvenience.

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