Would you refuse drugs from an Israeli drug company?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is obviously a hot-button issue. And I’m not taking sides, nor am I proposing a solution.  But here’s where it affects me.

There’s a Parkinson’s Disease medication called Azilect. It has some unique properties, and there’s no generic, or direct competitors, currently available. It’s manufactured by Teva, a company that does most of their business in generic drugs. It’s the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer, and if you’ve taken any type of pill at some point in your life, the odds are you’ve used a Teva product.

Teva is an Israeli company. I personally don’t care. From my view, they make a useful drug, and if I think you could benefit from it, I’ll write for it.

Most people are fine with this. But I always get a handful of calls a year from people refusing to take it, or calling to yell at me, for prescribing an Israeli product. Some refuse to take it because they don’t want to support Israel. Others have accused me of secretly prescribing it over other drugs as part of some vast Israeli conspiracy. I’ve even had one patient fire me because I wrote for it.

Here’s the bottom line people: I don’t care where your medication was made, who makes it, or the name of the chemist in the assembly line.

I am your doctor, and when you’re here, my goal is to try and make you better. I’m not getting kickbacks for these scripts, nor are they my way of making a political statement.

Improving you is what I’m trying to do. So try to see it that way, and accept my help.

“Doctor Grumpy” is a neurologist who blogs at Doctor Grumpy in the House.

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  • http://drrjv.wordpress.com/ drrjv

    Azilect is not really that great of a drug for Parkinson’s and is very expensive for what it does offer ($12 per dose or $400 per month).

    • http://twitter.com/BDeev BDeev

      As someone on Azilect since 2006, I disagree.  It helped my gait immediately.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIFUXGIWIB4QEAIHOPDVXPAWJQ Nadia

      I think it is not the point of those who object.

    • Anonymous

      Apparently you are not aware that Azilect is not taken for symptom relief, but for neuro-protection – to slow down the progression of this awful disease.  My husband has been the beneficiary of this benefit and eight years post-diagnosis, no one outside of the family would even know he has the disease, although he openly tells people.

  • Anonymous

    It seems an odd kind of objection. We could easily find objections everywhere.  Japan is extremely xenophobic and full of racist/sexist attitudes.  China has a horrible human rights record and many of its people work in all but slavery.  The UK is a land where free speech is virtually non-existent.  In Canada, and the UK, and the Netherlands (most of Europe in fact), you can be fined and go to jail for offending the wrong group with your speech.  Australia has a nation-wide Internet fire-wall that limits free speech.  Not to mention the human rights abuses of the Saudis, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Iranians and all the rest.  Many in India still suffer from the Caste system.  South Africa, post-Apartheid, is a land of tremendous violence.  And the US is a country of moronic politicians.  Alas, we’re left with leaches and home-remedies!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WQAZQ7EBYXOVCFCINUV6XMCXTE Arnold L. Goldman

    The failure to make a distinction between personal political beliefs and personal needs is sadly all too common. The phenomenon of individual politically based economic “boycotts” is narcissistic and silly. Any one of us are not just that influential. That said, Israelis don’t blow themselves up in malls and restaurants. We ought to be boycotting Palestinian developed medications, but wait, there aren’t any…..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIFUXGIWIB4QEAIHOPDVXPAWJQ Nadia

    Perhaps you might ask those of your patients so indignant of taking an Israeli drug if they have any reservations taking Bayer aspirin or any other drugs of Bayer or IG Farben.   After all, Zyklon B responsible for mass murder of European Jewry was created by a company that still prospers. Does driving a VW, Audi or BMW raise their ire?  Or the wholesale murder of 6 million Jews does not raise their boiling point enough to refuse medicine which is so helpful?  As for me, I will continue to prescribe and certainly take the medication which is most helpful to my patients and take a particular joy of supporting in small part the only flourishing democracy in the Middle East.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIFUXGIWIB4QEAIHOPDVXPAWJQ Nadia

    I would ask those who have qualms about taking an Israeli drug for political reasons how do they feel about taking Bayer Aspirin or any other drugs by Bayer.  Perhaps the producer of Zyklon B used in mass murder of European Jewry just has not raised their moral boiling point enough to deny themselves the relief from a headache.  As for me, I will gladly continue to prescribe, and if needed, to take the drug taking some pleasure in supporting the only thriving democracy in the Middle East.  My prescribing practices, as I hope of most physicians, are based on science and clinical indications, not politics.  However, if some Parkinson’s patients prefer to be stiff and immobile, I suppose it is their choice.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2LRZNHDZS6DU45WQ567LPQ7CMI ninguem

    Doctor Grumpy, I assume you showed them the door when they brought up the Jewish conspiracy.

    Reminds me of an old Sam Levinson joke from about 50 years ago:

    “It’s a free world and you don’t have to like Jews, but if you DON’T,
    I suggest that you boycott certain Jewish products, like …..
    The Wasserman Test for syphilis, Digitalis, discovered by Doctor Nuslin,
    Insulin, discovered by Doctor Minofsky,
    Chloral Hydrate, discovered by Doctor Lifreich,
    The Schick Test for Diphtheria,
    Vitamins, discovered by Doctor Funk,
    Streptomycin, discovered by Doctor Woronan,
    The Polio Pill by Doctor Sabin,
    and the Polio Vaccine by Doctor Jonas Salk.
    Go on, boycott!
    Humanitarian consistency requires that my people offer all these gifts to all people of the world.
    consistency requires that all bigots accept Syphilis, Diabetes,
    Convulsions, Malnutrition, Polio and Tuberculosis as a matter of
    You want to be mad at us? Be mad at us! But I’m telling you, you ain’t going to feel so good.

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