World News Wrapup: 1 July 2021

Vancouver pharmacist suspended over phony scripts; some Greek pharmacies take issue with Covid self-tests; Malaysian pharmacist praised for settling mother’s bill

Vancouver, Canada: A Vancouver pharmacist has been suspended for five years for writing phony prescriptions, according to the Vancouver Sun.

He reportedly used a doctor’s name and licence number to create nine prescription authorisations totalling 75 dispensed transactions.

These transactions included prescription drugs, over-the-counter supplements and medical supplies.

The pharmacist also reportedly processed more than 15,000 false prescriptions for vitamins and over-the-counter drugs on the government records of seven individuals without their knowledge.

He reportedly admitted that he “directed pharmacy assistants to process transactions weekly … in order to artificially inflate the pharmacy’s prescription count”.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia has suspended the pharmacist for a total of 1,825 days and ordered a letter of reprimand to be permanently placed on the college’s register.

He also has to pay a fine of $15,000.


Greece: Greece’s Deputy Health Minister has announced that free COVID-19 self-tests will be made available through supermarkets in Achaia Region where a pharmacists’ union refuses to continue providing them.

He also said the same will happen in the region of Attica if pharmacists there insist on discontinuing the distribution, reports the Greek City Times.

The Association of Greek Pharmacists (PFS) said earlier in the month that local pharmacies would stop distributing Covid-19 self-testing kits by the end of June.

These tests are reportedly required by Greek employees before attending work.

The self-testing program that was launched on April 12 to facilitate the safe reopening of economic and social activity after a months-long lockdown.

However the government had requested the free distribution continue for the next 2-3 months.

Until Wednesday, more than 10,000 pharmacies across the country had reportedly given out nearly 30 million self-tests, in a distribution program that was launched two months ago.

It is not been made clear exactly why the pharmacies have refused to continue providing the tests.


Illinois, United States: A bill that would allow pharmacists to provide hormonal birth control to patients who have not seen a doctor has been sent to the Governor of Illinois, reports the Illinois Newsroom.

State Representative Michelle Mussman sponsored the measure, which she said would boost access to birth control and limit unintended pregnancies.

“It certainly opens up a lot more pathways than having to go see a doctor, which we know can be quite an obstacle,” Mussman said. “Even if you have insurance, sometimes there are delays in your ability to make an appointment. It can be a bigger hurdle than many people realise.’’

The lack of access can be particularly difficult in some underserved areas, said Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy with Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.

“Pharmacists are highly trained health care professionals; they are perfectly capable of doing the assessment of the patient, no matter their age, assessing whether that method of contraception is appropriate,” Leahy said.

Pharmacists would reportedly need to complete an accredited training to participate in the program.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: A pharmacist has been praised on social media for paying for the medicines of a mother who couldn’t cover the cost.

An onlooker shared the incident on Twitter, saying she heard a woman at a pharmacy having a chat with the pharmacist at the counter, reports the New Straits Times.

“The woman was looking to purchase medicines for her infant child. The pharmacist handed the medicines to her and said that came up to about RM60 (AU$19.22) in total.

“The mother instead handed the pharmacist a card (an aid card distributed by the government), but unfortunately the pharmacist said the pharmacy does not accept the card,” she wrote on Twitter.

She said the woman then said she had no cash in hand and decided against buying the medicine.

“The pharmacist, a female, was taken aback and was quick to offer to pay the bill. The mother first refused but the pharmacist was persistent,” said the Twitter user.

“I then offered to pay the mother’s bill while paying for my father’s medicines, but the pharmacist said she was more than willing to bear the cost.

“To the pharmacist, I pray for you and your family for easing the mother’s burden, especially during these trying times. You are a hero!” she tweeted.

Others who read the heartwarming story also praised the pharmacist, with one saying, “The pharmacist deserves an award”.

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