World news wrapup: 15 March 2018

Arizona doctors’ offices get prescription drug vending machines;  Kansas celebrates drug donation program; UK dispensing error defence imminent

Mesa, Arizona: Medavail Technologies has installed Arizona’s first vending machine for medications in the Bayless Integrated Health Center in Mesa, positioned inside its clinic – and has plans for 40 more around the state.

ABC15 reports that the health centres will supply prescriptions in the form of a QR code, which patients can then scan at the vending machine.

They have an option to speak to a pharmacist using video chat and the pharmacist verifies each pack of medication, as well as obtaining a snapshot from the kiosk before it is released. The vending machines can hold 700 different drugs.

The process takes 90 seconds, say reporters.

“Convenience has really been the factor people have looked at because it saves them 30-45 minutes of having to go to another site, stop, get out of the vehicle, go into the pharmacy and pick up a prescription,” Ed Kilroy, CEO of Medavail Technologies, told ABC15.

The company now has plans for a drive-up kiosk similar to a drive-up ATM.


New Zealand: New Zealand’s new Code of Ethics has taken effect from 12 March 2018.

The Pharmacy Council, which developed the new code, says that it will not only be clearer for pharmacists and the community to understand, but also takes modern practice into account.

Chief executive Michael Pead says it is more principle-based, future-proofed and considers future models of pharmacist practice, as well as addressing technological changes and developments in digital health.

The new Code of Ethics has also been published with a Te Reo Māori translation of the seven principles.

The Council used the structure adopted by Australia’s PSA which groups the document into three themes: care of the patient, professional integrity and professional competence.

“The Council believes this makes the new Code clearer for pharmacists and the public and also sustains a longstanding alignment with the Australian code,” says Mr Pead.


Kansas City, Kansas: Pharmacy stakeholders in Kansas have celebrated 10 years of the United States’ first legislation to allow unwanted medicines to be donated to disadvantaged people.

The Kansas City Star reports that in 2008 Tim Reel, who referred to himself at that time as a “lowly staff pharmacist” asked his employer why the company, large-scale prescription drug service OptumRx, could not donate medicines which had been returned after patients died or otherwise no longer needed them, or had been sent back because of damaged packaging.

The employer was a member of the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy, which then began to work with state legislators to allow donation of unused and unopened prescription drugs.

OptumRx, United Healthcare and Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer this week celebrated the donation of US$20 million (AUD$25,439) in donated prescription drugs.

Mr Reel told the Star that he and his then employer thought their efforts might result in a few hundred donated drugs – and that this is something for other “lowly” pharmacists.

“Keep your eyes open and if you think you might be able to help, jump in,” he told reporter Andy Marso. “And keep at it. This didn’t happen overnight.”


UK: Britain’s dispensing error defence is set to become law in April 2018, according to Chemist + Druggist.

For some time, the UK has been working on a defence against criminal prosecution for pharmacists who make an inadvertent dispensing error. Now, it has been revealed that the Queen signed the new defence in February.

The UK’s four national governments are also working to extend the proposals “to cover pharmacy professionals working in hospitals and other pharmacy services,” the government program board said.

The defence means that a pharmacy professional or unregistered staff member will have a defence against prosecution when making an inadvertent dispensing error if they meet certain criteria.

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