World news wrapup: 1 March 2018

Missouri pharmacy stops providing lethal injection drugs; Ohio pharmacist a life-saver after spotting melanoma; Canadian pharmacist suspended after privacy breach

St Louis, Missouri: A BuzzFeed report has identified the pharmacy which allegedly supplied drugs used to execute prison inmates on death row – but its owner says it will no longer do so.

BuzzFeed news reporter Chris McDaniel wrote that the state of Missouri has “engaged in a wide-ranging scheme” to conceal the fact that it “paid a troubled pharmacy” to supply the lethal injection drug pentobarbital.

The previous supplier had been named in mainstream media and ceased its supply to the state of the drug.

“To hide the identity of the new pharmacy, the state has taken extraordinary steps,” Mr McDaniel wrote.

“It uses a code name for the pharmacy in its official documents. Only a handful of state employees know the real name. The state fought at least six lawsuits to stop death row inmates and the press from knowing the pharmacy’s identity.”

Now, the owner of the Foundation Care pharmacy, which was acquired by Centene subsidiary AcariaHealth late last year, says the pharmacy will no longer supply the drugs.

“Under Centene’s ownership, Foundation Care has never supplied, and will never supply any pharmaceutical product to any state for the purpose of effectuating executions,” Centene said in a statement to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Missouri has not executed an inmate in more than a year, before the pharmacy was bought by AcariaHealth.


Euclid, Ohio: Pharmacist Kara Bloom has been credited with saving the life of a patient after she noticed a skin cancer while administering a flu vaccination.

Sandy Callow, a regular at her local Drug Mart in Euclid, attended the pharmacy in the autumn of 2016 for her flu shot, and rolled up her sleeve.

Ms Bloom immediately noticed a lesion and “strongly urged” Ms Callow to discuss it with her doctor, Wwaytv3 reports.

After a few days Ms Callow went to her doctor, who immediately sent her to a dermatologist where a biopsy was taken.

“Turned out I had the fastest melanoma there is and it would have traveled to my brain and killed me,” Ms Callow told the station.

Both doctors told her the pharmacist was likely to have saved her life.

Ms Bloom told Wwaytv3 that she had attended a session on melanoma during her studies which alerted her to a skin cancer of her own, which was removed at the time.

Ms Callow returned to the pharmacy to thank Ms Bloom and present her with a hand-knitted gift, and the two hope to encourage viewers to both have their flu vaccinations, and take note of recommendations from pharmacists to talk to their doctors about any health concerns they flag.


Bathurst, Canada: A pharmacist has had her licence suspended for three months and been ordered to pay CAD$17,000 (AUD$17,088) after she breached a patient’s privacy.

Diane Roy was suspended in October 2016 and later dismissed after she was found to have texted a patient’s full list of medications to an individual who was not among the patient’s treating health professionals.

Now, a disciplinary committee was suspended her licence for three months, and given Ms Roy a written reprimand which will remain on her file for three years. She is also forbidden to train student pharmacists or manage a pharmacy for two years, and is expected to undergo ethics and confidentiality training.

She was given a CAD$2000 fine and ordered to pay fees of $15,000 related to the disciplinary process, CBC news reports.

Lawyer for the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists Enrico Scichilone said sending the text message indicated a “clear intention to violate a patient’s privacy”.


Brent, UK: A pharmacist has been jailed for 12 years plus five years on extended licence after she conspired with an asylum seeker to conduct a bomb or ricin terrorist attack over the festive season.

Get West London reports that pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan from Kilburn met Munir Mohammed on the website and was recruited by him to advise on the chemicals needed to create a bomb.

Mr Mohammed was arrested in December 2016, at which time he had two of the three ingredients needed for a bomb, plus instructions on how to make bombs and ricin. However, he made an error when purchasing the third ingredient, buying acetone-free nail polish.

He had introduced extremism into their relationship, Get West London reports, which Ms El-Hassan embraced, becoming an “enthusiastic and encouraging partner”.

The two were found guilty of preparing terrorist attacks and Mr Mohammed was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years.

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