World news wrapup: 23 September 2021

Pharmacist indicted over alleged drug ring; crackdown on pharmacies without pharmacists; staff arrested over fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Grosse Point Park, Michigan: A pharmacist has reportedly been charged with dispensing medicines on hundreds of fake scripts while working as part of a Detroit drug ring.

Fox 2 Detroit reports that Hasna Bashir Iwas, the owner of the Beacon Pointe Pharmacy, was charged with unlawful distribution of prescription drug controlled substances, conspiracy, and unlawfully maintaining drug-involved premises.

Previous indictments included those against Dr Otis Crawford and three more, who are accused of running an illicit prescription drug operation in the area.

It is alleged that Ms Iwas filled fraudulent scripts, issued by Dr Crawford’s practice, for medicines including oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax, and promethazine with codeine syrup.

She also allegedly filled another 600 scripts under the names of other prescribers for a forgery operation, and charged cash to dispense the medicines regardless of whether the purported patient had health insurance.


Nagpur, India: The Times of India reports that a new push from the Food and Drug Administration has unearthed 14 local pharmacies which were being operated without registered pharmacists.

The FDA inspected 187 stores and found that 7.49% had no registered pharmacist on the premises.

“Our teams ensured closure of these 14 shops immediately,” said FDA assistant commissioner Pushpadas Ballal.

“Showcase notice was also issued to these shops. They were given permission to resume operation after compliance of guidelines.

“We will initiate appropriate action against these pharmacy shops after receiving replies and investigation.”

The Times reports that most of the affected pharmacies were in the Ramdaspeth area, which is known as a “medical hub” for Nagpur.


Krugersdorp, South Africa: Four temporary pharmacy employees have been arrested and charged with providing fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates, reports Sowetan Live.

The four worked at the Dis-Chem Pharmacies vaccination site in Krugersdorp.

During a routine daily audit of vaccine doses and uploads to the Electronic Vaccination Data System, it was revealed that they had allegedly been involved with the fraud.

“We did not hesitate to act as soon as this was brought to our attention as it is most upsetting to see that a small number of individuals felt they could take advantage of the vaccine rollout drive,” said the company CEO, Ivan Saltzman.

“We do not tolerate any fraudulent or dishonest activity and more specifically, we abhor and condemn any action that serves to undermine or dilute government’s national vaccine rollout campaign.”


Ireland: Irish Pharmacy Union president Dermot Twomey has again spoken out about the need for a minor ailment scheme, which could free GPs from needing to see patients for up to 40 conditions.

The Independent reports that pharmacists remain underutilised in Ireland.

“Minor ailment schemes operate successfully in many other countries such as the UK, Netherlands, Canada and Australia,” Mr Twomey said.

“The experience in Scotland shows us it could eliminate one in 20 A&E visits and one in seven GP visits.

“With GPs consistently citing concerns over their capacity, at the stroke of a pen, the Government could free up over a million GP appointments a year.”

Pharmacists could treat patients for conditions including hayfever, migraine or common skin conditions, he said.

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