World news wrapup: 13 July 2017


30 years for killing New Jersey pharmacist; NZ keeps codeine status quo; fake Fentanyl in Ontario

Trenton, New Jersey: A man who shot and killed a New Jersey pharmacist has been jailed for 30 years.

Jamar Myers was sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole for the murder of Arjun Dyapa, reports NJ.com. He will also serve a 12-year term, to be served concurrently, for the robbery of a Hamilton 7-11.

Mr Myers pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Dyapa; authorities say he shot the pharmacist after he refused to hand over prescription painkillers when Mr Myers demanded them.

NJ.com reports that Mr Dyapa was a “community leader” and loving father and husband, who “never turned away” a customer who could not afford their medicines.

 

New Zealand: New Zealand’s Medicines Classification Committee has decided not to make changes to the scheduling of codeine, but has posed some questions to the sector which may determine the drug’s future status.

According to Pharmacy Today, the MCC wants to know what education and CPD would be provided to health professionals to minimise the risk of misuse and addiction; how the sector would fill the data gap with respect to OTC codeine use; and how the sector would plan to track codeine sales in pharmacy to identify customers who may need help with pain management and/or addiction.

Medsafe had proposed to the MCC that codeine be upscheduled from pharmacy only and restricted classifications.

Some MCC members were keen to harmonise with Australia at a meeting where the proposal was discussed.

Key issues for the committee included the lack of a tracking system and efficacy data.

 

Ontario, Canada: Criminals are creating convincing fakes of Fentanyl patches which are fooling Canadian pharmacists into dispensing replacements.

Last autumn, Ontario passed a law requiring that patients return used Fentanyl patches to pharmacists before they can obtain new ones, due to problems with illegal sales of the opioid.

But now, dealers are creating “increasingly convincing” fakes patches which they then use to obtain refills, reports CBC News Windsor. The patches can sell for CAD$500-700 (AUD$507-709).

According to a local detective, Brad Reaume, the first generation of fake patches were “very sloppy” and easily spotted by pharmacy stuff, but quality has now become extremely sophisticated.

Police are now working with local pharmacists to teach them how to detect the fakes: characteristics include a slightly blurred font and a slight difference in the way the patch corners are curved.

 

France: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that childhood vaccination will become mandatory from 2018.

The eleven vaccines which are universally recommended by health authorities will now become compulsory; currently only three – for diphtheria, tetanus and polio – are mandatory while eight others are recommended.

These include vaccinations for pneumococcal, meningococcal C, measles, mumps and rubella.

According to Le Monde, 41% of French people have doubts about the safety of these vaccines, citing concerns about side-effects and profitability for manufacturers.

Mr Philippe said that in the homeland of Louis Pasteur, it is unacceptable that diseases which had been thought to be eradicated were resurfacing, and that children could die of measles today.

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