World news wrapup: 16 March 2017


pharmacist holding piggy bank

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

UK: Only four out of more than 8,000 pharmacies were rated “excellent” by the UK’s pharmacy regulator following its inspections of the stores.

Chemist + Druggist reports that the General Pharmaceutical Council has inspected more than 8,150 pharmacies between November 2013 and September 9, 2016, but only four received the highest possible rating.

1,396 were rated “good,” 6,316 were rated “satisfactory” and 443 were rated “poor”.

Three of the four “excellent” ratings were given by one individual inspector, C+D reports. 39 different inspectors carried out the visits.

One contractor told C+D that standard operating procedures, support and other processes were the same at different branches where they worked, but these branches received reports ranging from “good” to “poor”.

“I know it could be due to individual pharmacists and team members on the day, but I would have at least expected that they would be about the same,” the contractor said.

The GPhC changed its approach to inspections in November 2013, with an increased focus on patients.

 

Felixstowe, UK: A mistake by a Boots pharmacy “very likely” hastened the death of a pensioner with vision loss, UK media report.

86-year-old Douglas Lamond died in 2012 two days after a pack of medication was sent to his home from a Felixstowe Boots pharmacy. Mr Lamond, who lived alone and was registered as blind, relied entirely on health professionals to prepare and deliver his medicines.

He was taking several drugs to treat conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and glaucoma. The BBC reports that the pharmacy would deliver these drugs to him once weekly.

One such delivery contained several medicines labelled with a different name. A coroner’s court was told that “a dispenser at the chemists had slit open a compartment of a previously assembled medicine box to add pills that had been requested, and then sealed it with sticky tape”. A pharmacist later checked the box for these additional pills, but not those already in the package.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, there was not enough evidence to seek a charge of gross negligence manslaughter, but the pharmacist who had checked the box was cautioned.

 

US: Pharmacists and pharmacy managers have again rated highly on Glassdoor’s list of the highest-paying professions in the US.

Taking out the top spot were physicians, with a median base salary of US$187,876, with 7,770 job openings across the United States.

And in second place were pharmacy managers, earning a median base salary of $149,064 and with 2,370 job openings. According to Glassdoor, hot spots for job openings include Austin and Dallas in Texas; New York City; Baltimore, Maryland; and Columbus, Ohio.

Pharmacists were in fifth place, earning a median base salary of US$125,847 and with 5,496 job opportunities across the US, especially in Baltimore; Providence, Rhode Island; San Diego and Sacramento, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It’s the third year that Glassdoor has released the list of the top 25 paying professions; however as pointed out by the Washington Post, “Glassdoor relies on salary reports from U.S. employees who filled out information on its site over the past year, and only considers job titles that have at least 100 salary reports for the list”.

 

Lahore, Pakistan: The Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association has demanded government appoint a pharmacist to each 50 beds in public and private hospitals, the International News reports.

“There are 6,000 vacancies of pharmacists present in public hospitals, which must be filled with immediate effect,” said Noor M Mehr, President Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum, along with PYPA General Secretary Haroon Yousaf and Joint Secretary Hina Shaukat.

The statement followed a protest in front of the Lahore Press Club where police intervened due to security concerns.

The stakeholders expressed concern that pharmacists would leave the country due to the government’s “continuous discrimination” against them.

Mr Mehr said health services are incomplete without pharmacists and that hospitals which do not employ a sufficient number of them should have their licences revoked.

“Healthcare allowance must be given to all pharmacists working in public sector,” he said.

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