World news wrapup: 17 December 2020

cartoon syringe and hand saying stop

Drunk pharmacist attacks passers-by with sword; COVID vaccine refusal among UK pharmacists; warning not to stockpile ahead of Brexit transition end

Balasore, India: Pharmacist Subasish Tudu has reportedly gone on a rampage with a sword in the village of Idida, injuring two people.

Odisha TV reports that Mr Tudu was “loitering” around the village last week while in a drunken state.

The pharmacist, who had recently been appointed to a position at the village’s Primary Health Centre, began to yell abuse at random people, becoming more aggressive as he continued to drink.

He then took a sword and began to attack people who came near them.

Two people were seriously injured before locals unsuccessfully attempted to subdue the pharmacist.

He was then arrested by police. Meanwhile locals have demanded that Mr Tudu be transferred away from his job at the Centre.


UK: More than half of the pharmacy professionals who responded to a recent Chemist + Druggist poll said that they will refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

C+D ran the poll on its website between December 3 and 11, and 186 readers responded. Four in 10 said they were “not confident that a vaccine that has been developed so quickly will be safe” and will decline the COVID vaccine as a result.

Another 16% said that they have reservations about vaccines in general; 27% said they would have the jab as soon as they could; and another 17% said they would take the vaccine but not immediately, again due to concerns about the timeframe of its development.

The UK’s vaccine program is currently rolling out, with health professionals such as pharmacists to be second in line after older people and care workers.


UK: Ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period – set for 31 December, 2020 – pharmacists have been asked not to stockpile medicines, reports the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, has written to all community and hospital pharmacists asking them to inform patients that scripts should be ordered as normal until the Brexit period is over.

Stockpiling could exert pressure on supply of medicines around the UK, he warned.

Mr Ridge also asked pharmacists to report any shortages after the end of the year and share the information with local clinicians.

The Journal spoke to Warwick Smith, director general of the British Generic Manufacturers Association, who said that, ““The thing we can do least about is disruption at the UK border, so manufacturers have built up stockpiles that will buy time if there is disruption at the short straits ports in the Channel,” he said.

“Manufacturers have also bought up space on longer ferry routes, which are more expensive and take longer to reach the UK, but beyond that they are reliant on the procedures that will be put in place by the UK government and authorities on the other side of the Channel.

“But this will apply whether there is a free trade agreement or not, and we are already seeing some delays on both sides of the Channel, whether this is to do with Christmas, COVID-19, or planning for Brexit transition at the end of the year.”


Washington, DC: The leaders of 18 pharmacy organizations across the United States have issued a statement following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the first Emergency use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We heartily welcome the decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize the emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccine, following the recommendation of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC),” say the pharmacy groups.

“This is a historic moment in the nation’s effort to end the pandemic. The pharmacy profession is ready to do its part as qualified, active participants in administering these vaccines in accordance with guidance issued by the FDA, CDC, HHS and state and local health departments, as well as increasing access for the American public to these important disease prevention tools.

“We are confident that FDA has taken extraordinary care to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective. The American people should have great confidence in the vaccine. The vast majority of pharmacists have indicated in recent surveys that they intend to be vaccinated themselves and plan to recommend the vaccine to their patients. More than 360,000 pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians nationwide are trained to administer vaccines.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers in the nation, with 90% of Americans living within 5 miles of pharmacy. Across the nation they stand ready, in all patient care settings, to administer the vaccine and counsel patients through this critical moment in our nation’s history.  As trusted health professionals dedicated to serving the health care needs of our communities, we stand ready to serve.”


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