Published: 8th February 2005
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) questioned the role of Boots the chemist after today's announcement that a free service to provide test kits to detect chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, is to be launched. CMF says, along with Government policy, Boots has helped to fuel the epidemic by making the morning after pill (MAP) more widely available.
CMF spokesperson, Dr Trevor Stammers said: 'While the CMF welcome the early detection and cure of any sexually transmitted disease, the Government and Boots are by this move merely mopping up the mess they have helped to create. The British Medical Journal was warned in 2001 that the sale of the MAP over the counter would fuel the rise of sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, by reducing the opportunity to give counsel about the risks. In the same period that chlamydia and most other STIs have skyrocketed, and sales of the MAP have doubled, making it one of Boots' biggest money earners.'
CMF, who represent 4,500 Christian doctors in the UK, has frequently expressed its concern over Government policy for reducing unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, which appears to place undue emphasis on the morning-after-pill [MAP]. Statistics now confirm that since the MAP went on sale unplanned teenage pregnancies have not reduced substantially over the same period.
The Department of Health is currently inviting bids to test the feasibility of chlamydia screening in community pharmacies in London and Cornwall. If successful, it is planned to roll the scheme out nationally. There were 89,818 diagnosed cases of chlamydia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - up 9% in a year. Boots has been piloting free chlamydia testing at two of its stories in the Wirral since last April, with plans to extend it to another store in Crewe at the end of the month.
Peter Saunders, General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, stated; 'Paradoxically making the MAP more easily available increases the level of unprotected intercourse in teenagers because the MAP induces a false sense of security. It is deeply ironic that Boots is now seeking to make these test-kits available to detect the very sexually transmitted disease whose spread it has helped to promote.'
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.