World news wrapup: 1 August 2019


Dead rat plague in UK pharmacy; reprimanded NZ pharmacist named; fatal injection in India

Hull, England: A spokesperson for the Lloydspharmacy group has apologised to the local community after pharmacy workers complained that decomposing rats were leaking through the store’s ceiling.

Pest controllers have been called in to address the rat problem in the pharmacy, reports Hull Live, but after the pests were killed, they were left in the ceiling area.

One pharmacy staff member told Hull Live that the pharmacy had been “inundated” with the rodents and every time pest controllers attended to address the problem, the rats kept coming back.

“During the last infestation, the rats were killed but they were left in the ceiling and the flesh began to rot. The smell was horrendous and customers kept asking us what it was and we just had to smile about it,” the worker said.

“There were two rats in the ceiling, just above the tiles, and when they started to decompose it began to leak through the tiles. There was a grey/red splodge which was attracting flies all around it.

“I actually poked one of the tiles and half a dozen maggots fell to the floor and were wriggling about.”

Lloydspharmacy has apologised and a spokesperson said it is trying to fix the problem, but factors including fly-tipping problems and a number of takeaways in the area are attracting more rats.

“We are very sorry for the issues experienced at our community pharmacy in Anlaby Road, Hull,” they said.

“It is unfortunate that the surrounding environment has impacted our pharmacy in this way. As soon as we became aware of the situation, we took appropriate action and we are continuing to monitor the situation with pest control experts.

“It is really important that our pharmacies are pleasant places to visit for customers and that our colleagues feel proud of and we apologise again that these external factors have impacted in this way.”


Hamilton, New Zealand: A pharmacist who was found guilty of charges of professional misconduct, including leaving methadone unlocked and accessible on a pharmacy counter, can now be named after a name suppression ruling lapsed.

Simon Cooper was fined NZ$35,000 (AUD$33,510) after he left the methadone unsecured, mislabelled prescriptions, failed to observe instructions on a label, left the pharmacy on several occasions – meaning there was no pharmacist there though the store was open – and asked colleagues to cover for him.

He left the store on a number of occasions for periods of 10 minutes or longer, contrary to the Pharmacy Council’s Code of Ethics, the NZ Herald reports.

He also dispensed incorrect medication, which constituted malpractice and negligence.

Conditions were placed on Mr Cooper’s registration at the March hearing.


London, England: A pilot scheme which used practice-based pharmacists to triage patients for urgent conditions via phone has halved the number of same-day GP appointments, reports Pulse Today.

The scheme took place at St John’s Way Medical Centre in the suburb of Islington, and saw patients requesting urgent appointments either handled over the phone, or pointed in the direction of other services by a pharmacist.

Within the first three months of operation, the scheme had halved the number of urgent in-person GP appointments and saved 34 hours of the GPs’ time per week.

The on-call GPs were replaced with the pharmacist between Tuesday and Friday, and the phone service cut by two hours a day.

The practice manager, Jack Johnson-Rose, and pharmacist Amira Shaikh told Pulse that “Our aim was to reduce GP workload to a more manageable and sustainable level to improve staff morale, encourage effective teamwork, and maintain excellent clinical outcomes and continuity of care for patients”.

“We propose to reduce the total number of non-essential GP encounters by 10% and to reduce the number of repeat prescription signings by 20%.”


Chennai, India: A pharmacist has been detained by police after he allegedly administered a fatal injection of an analgesic to a Mr Kumar, a tailor with a shoulder and neck pain condition.

“Kumar went to the medical shop in Shanmugapuram and asked for medicine and injection to numb the pain,” a spokesperson for police told the New Indian Express.

This was the third time Mr Kumar had been to the pharmacy in the week leading up to his death to receive an injection from the pharmacist, a Mr Bhaskar.

The fatal injection was delivered without a valid script.

Mr Kumar became unconscious while still at the pharmacy and reportedly suffered seizures, and was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

His family staged a protest at the police station, urging them to act, and the pharmacist was consequently detained and interrogated.

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1 Comment

  1. Jarrod McMaugh

    Was it Nancy Wheeler who broke the story in the first part of this News Wrapup?

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