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TICINO “Boycott Novartis”, an email wanders around Ticino

Franco Denti: "A small gesture must be done. I will be careful in prescribing medicines, but carefully safeguarding the patient"

by Sa.Me.

LUGANO – The form of protest by a Geneva doctor against Novartis who announced the closure of the Nyon-Prangins (VD) factory with the consequent suppression of 320 jobs is also spreading in Ticino.
The Genevan doctor Bertrand Buchs has decided to stop prescribing the pharmaceutical giant's products to his patients and has urged his other colleagues to do the same.

The e-mail message inviting doctors to boycott Novartis has also arrived in Ticino studies. Words from Franco Denti, President of the Cantonal Medical Association: “In Ticino this e-mail is circulating in doctors' surgeries and calls for a boycott. Obviously the message has not been a source of discussion by the Order, nor have there been any requests for the Order to address the issue. It is not the institution that divulges the message, nor can the Order enter into the matter”.

However Denti is not opposed to the initiative. “The boycott of Novartis is suggestive, I have nothing against it. I agree with all forms of struggle against a pharmaceutical policy that endangers workers, provided that the patients do not lose out. For example, if there is an effective oncological drug that only Novartis produces, it must be prescribed, otherwise the patient will be harmed".

Denti, without prejudice to these precautions, does not hide that he will adhere to the initiative of the Geneva doctor. As far as possible: “let's say that I personally will be careful not to prescribe a new Novartis drug, safeguarding the patient. A small gesture must be done. The antibiotic, for example, is produced by various pharmaceutical companies, so whether I give Novartis or Novirtus is the same. However, this discourse cannot be extended to the entire range of Novartis products. I'm certainly not going to replace a Novartis drug for a patient who has been taking it for years, for obvious reasons of precaution and safety."
To find out if other Ticino doctors will join the boycott, it will be necessary to check the Novartis sales figures in the coming months. In any case, the problem triggered by the Genevan's protest also hides another problem, that of the strength of the pharmaceutical companies.

The Genevan doctor had clearly expressed the opinion that "it is not the doctors who are in charge but the financiers". Denti confirms: “Of course everyone is in charge, except doctors or politicians. The Franks rule. And the crisis is not helping us. Today many people are allowed to be fired, who then fall ill and have to be treated with a consequent increase in costs. But then we complain about the excessive costs for health. It's a paradox”.

09/11/2011 www.tio.ch newscino-current events

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