Anger as TV ads for British pharmacy run on Russia’s RT
BRITAIN’S biggest online pharmacy advertised on Russia’s Kremlin-sponsored TV station, which was accused of spreading propaganda over the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal.
Pharmacy2U, an NHS-backed service which provides patients with repeat prescriptions, is among a cluster of British firms found to have placed paid adverts on RT, previously known as Russia Today. Russia’s state-funded network is being investigated by Ofcom over alleged breaches in impartiality rules following coverage of the poisonings of Mr Skripal, and daughter Yulia, in Salisbury earlier this year.
In September, RT aired an interview with two men suspected of perpetrating the Novichok nerve agent attack in which they claimed they were innocent and travelled to the city to visit the cathedral. A Conservative MP said par- liamentary colleagues were left “horrified” when he told them British firms were advertising on the station he described as “Putin’s mouthpiece”.
Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, said: “British doctors and nurses put their lives at risk trying to treat the nerve agent. I don’t think they’d be pleased to see the NHS affiliated with RT.” Pharmacy2U has since suspended the adverts after the firm was contacted by NHS England. The company, along with other businesses found advertising on RT, said it was unaware the advert had been placed as it uses a computerised system to automatically bid on cheap advertisement slots.
A Pharmacy2U spokesman said: “As soon as we knew about the ad we removed it immediately.”
Previously RT, which has an average daily UK audience of 3,400, has voiced its disagreement with Ofcom, describing itself as a “sacrificial political pawn”.