World news wrapup: 15 November 2018

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Two years’ suspended sentence for Finnish pharmacy fraud; ex-boyfriend blamed for closure of Zimbabwe pharmacy; language no barrier for winning student team

Lahti, Finland: A former pharmacist has been handed a two-year prison sentence for a number of offences including aggravated fraud, three counts of practicing medicine without a license, and one count of bodily harm.

YLE reports that the Finnish Medicines Agency, or Fimea, was tipped off about the pharmacist’s behaviour by concerned patients as well as other local pharmacies. A police investigation revealed that dozens of patients had been given the wrong medicines, with brands or doses not matching their scripts.

Others were given medicines which were not interchangeable with what they had been prescribed.

The pharmacist was also found guilty of making €344,000 (AUD$522,447) worth of fraudulent reimbursement claims from the state benefits agency, Kela.

According to police, the pharmacist would make claims for medicines that were never actually dispensed.

The pharmacist submitted that they did not intend to practice fraudulently but were attempting to manage poor finances and inadequate stock at the pharmacy.

They were ordered to pay back the funds to Kela as well pay Fimea’s court costs, and handed a two-year suspended prison sentence.


Chipinge, Zimbabwe: A pharmacy has been closed after it was caught selling unregistered, expired and unrefrigerated medicines and opening without a pharmacist.

Pyrimon eye drops and paracetamol Fresenius 10mg/mL were found in the store to be unregistered and expired, while atenonol 100mg was unregistered and typhoid vaccines had been stored out of the fridge.

ZimEye reports that the Angel Pharmacy was closed following an inspection by the Medicines Control of Zimbabwe after a member of the public let them know about the issues.

Pharmacist owner Angeline Mahwire said the pharmacy did not sell unregistered drugs and claimed that the inspection and closure took place as a result of her ex-boyfriend setting out to undermine her.


Mendoza, Argentina: A pharmacist from New Zealand’s Tauranga Hospital teamed up with student pharmacists from Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands to take out the team title at the International Pharmacy Students Federation (IPSF) 2018 World Congress.

Elliot Harris told the NZ Herald that on attending the conference, he was asked by the Dutch delegate to join their team.

“Teams were either put forward by countries that had won competitions previously or a mixture of nationalities who wanted to give it a go,” he told the Herald.

Teams were briefed on a clinical case scenario – in this case a patient with acute lithium poisoning – including the patient’s history and bloodwork.

They were then given 10 minutes to simulate an interview, with actors playing both the clinician and the patient.

Mr Harris, who began work at Tauranga Hospital in 2018 upon the completion of his intern year, told the Herald that the simulated interview was “tricky” as he only speaks English.

The team made a list of medicinal recommendations and further investigations and then formatted and submitted the plan.  


US: Emergent Biosolutions, which has completed its acquisition of Adapt Pharma, manufacturer of Narcan, has announced that it will provide free Narcan to every public library and YMCA in the United States.

Each kit will contain two doses of the naloxone nasal spray, as well as educational materials.

This will total 16,568 kits to public libraries and 2,700 for YMCAs, reports Time.

Four free doses of Narcan are already provided to each US high school, as well as up to eight for institutions which offer two or four-year degrees.

“These two programs reflect our commitment to educating the public about the potential risks of opioids and the critical role of naloxone during an opioid overdose emergency and reinforce our mission – to protect and enhance life,” Emergent Senior Vice President Doug White, head of the company’s devices business unit, said.

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