World news wrapup: 12 April 2019


Seema Kennedy, UK pharmacy minister

British MP regrets pharmacy funding cuts; new UK pharmacy minister; US pharmacy staff save a life

UK: A Conservative MP has told Chemist+Druggist that he “deeply regrets” funding cuts to the sector which have had a significant effect on pharmacies in England.

Vice chair of the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) Steve Double, member for St Austell and Newquay, told C+D that the 2016 decision to cut funding to the pharmacy sector by 12% was “shortsighted”.

Instead, he said he wanted more money and other resources to be put back into the sector.

Community pharmacy needs a more significant role on the frontline of the NHS, he said.

“Throwing more money at the NHS isn’t the answer, I have come to the conclusion that some of that extra money really does need to be put into community pharmacy.

“We need to review the funding and make sure that community pharmacies are funded for the services we want them to deliver, and the resources are there for them to do that,” he said.

C+D reports that Mr Double suggested that community pharmacies are actually the “most efficient” part of the NHS, and are “businesses at the heart of our communities”.

 

Wales, UK: Two health boards in Wales are running a pilot scheme which is seeing pharmacists prescribing antibiotics for sore throats.

The pilot is aimed at reducing the amount of antibiotics being given for these minor ailments, reports the BBC.

The Betsi Cadwaladr health board – alongside Cwm Taf, one of two boards running the scheme – has reported that in 390 consultations over six weeks, only 55 people received antibiotics.

Of these patients, 86% did not need antibiotics, but 351 of them said they would have gone to a GP.

As for Cwm Taf, more than 400 patients used the service in its area, and around three quarters did not need antibiotics; 90% of these patients also said they would have seen a GP if the pilot scheme was not taking place.

“The prescribing of antibiotics is high—Cwm Taf is especially high, so we need it to be less,” Treorchy pharmacist Adrian Fraser Jones told the BBC.

 

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts: Staff at a Wegmans pharmacy in Northboro have been credited with helping save a life this week, after a customer experienced an anaphylactic reaction.

Kathy Musiak was at the pharmacy’s café with her small son when she experienced an unexpected reaction to fruit she was sharing with him, reports CBS Local.

Ms Musiak had eaten strawberries, kiwi fruit and grapes many times in the past, but this time her mouth became numb and she realised she was having trouble breathing.

The nearby pharmacist on duty recognised the symptoms and administered an EpiPen, while a pharmacist technician helped by keeping Ms Musiak’s son calm while his father was on his way.

After being hospitalised for the reaction, Ms Musiak was prescribed an EpiPen, which she went back to the Wegmans pharmacy to obtain. As well as the EpiPen, the staff also presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

“It was so sweet I definitely wasn’t expecting that so it made a bad day a little bit better,” Ms Musiak, who now plans to have the allergy investigated by a specialist, told CBS.

 

UK: The UK has a new pharmacy minister in Seema Kennedy, who has been appointed as the new parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Ms Kennedy’s appointment follows the resignation of previous pharmacy minister Steve Brine, who resigned over disagreement with Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy for Brexit, reports the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Stakeholders from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and English Pharmacy Board welcomed the appointment and said they looked forward to meeting the new minister and discussing issues around pharmacy with her.

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