World news wrapup: 16 September 2021


Auckland pharmacy to fall victim to lockdown; US pharmacist sentenced over racehorse doping supply; UK pharmacy workers at front of line for COVID boosters

Auckland, New Zealand: The North Star Pharmacy at Takapuna is set to close down this month, with its part-owner blaming lockdowns making it financially unviable.

Joshua Chen told Stuff that the pharmacy had not been breaking even for six months, and with another lockdown currently underway – exacerbated by nearby roadworks – he could not afford to continue operating it.

He told reporter Lucy Xia that retail revenue had dropped by at least 50% with each lockdown.

He said that even though he was able to open the pharmacy under Auckland’s tough lockdown rules, essential businesses were finding it difficult to stay afloat.

“We [our pharmacy] are a part of the community, and in serving them, we have become an indispensable part of their lives,” he said.

Pharmacy Guild chief executive Andrew Gaudin said many pharmacy owners were running at a loss staying open during lockdowns.

“Pharmacies put in place a range of increased safety measures and more medicine deliveries to patients in their own homes,” he said.

“This, however, comes at a significant financial cost to pharmacies. Costs are up, retail income is down, and pharmacies are struggling to pay their bills.”

The pair said the Government could do more to help, and the Guild is calling on it to subsidise pharmacies, paying out of pocket costs such as rent and personal protective equipment.

 

New York, US: A pharmacist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in connection with his years-long sale and distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs.

The drugs included performance-enhancing drugs marketed to racehorse trainers and others in the horse-racing industry, said Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Scott Mangini had distributed these drugs via illegal websites he owned.

“Scott Mangini used his skills as a pharmacist to create and supply a market for adulterated and unregulated performance-enhancing drugs that endangered racehorses,” she said in a statement from the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.

“Mangini designed and peddled dozens of products intended for use by those engaged in fraud and animal abuse. 

“Mangini’s products were manufactured in unsanitary facilities that he hid behind shell companies, straw owners, and fake prescription records. His conduct persisted despite efforts by state and federal regulators to shutter Mangini’s operation and strip his license.  

“Today’s sentence underscores this Office’s commitment to the prosecution of those who, in their race for riches, would corruptly produce, peddle, or deploy illegal substances that endanger the animals under their care.”

From at least 2011 through to at least or about March 2020, Mr Mangini and conspirators manufactured, sold, and distributed millions of dollars’ worth of adulterated and misbranded equine drugs.

He sold these through several direct-to-consumer websites designed to appeal to racehorse trainers and owners, including, among others, “horseprerace.com” and “racehorsemeds.com.”  

His licence as a pharmacist was suspended in 2016.

He pleaded guilty to a one-count Information earlier this year.

As well as the 18-month prison sentence, he has also been handed a sentence of three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a forfeiture penalty of US$8,108,141.65 (AUD$11,064,606).

 

UK: Pharmacy workers are among those who have been recommended to have a booster shot to protect against COVID-19, Chemist+Druggist reports.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that anybody who received their first jab during the first phase of the rollout should be “offered” a third shot.

English Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced this week that he has accepted JCVI advice on the booster shots, which are to also be prioritised for older adults living in residential care, and all adults aged 50 and over.

“The NHS is preparing to offer booster doses from next week,” he said.

C+D also reports that the Scottish government has accepted the JCVI advice.

It says that people working at pharmacies will be among the first to receive the booster shots.

 

France: France has extended its provision of free contraceptives for all women up to the age of 25.

French health minister Olivier Véran told France 2 that personal finances were an issue for many younger people, and could be contributing to a lower uptake of contraceptives.

To date contraceptives have been free for women aged up to 18 years in France, reports Euro News.

“It’s intolerable that women aren’t able to protect themselves, aren’t able to use contraception if they make that choice, because it would cost too much,” he said.

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