World news wrapup: 19 March 2020

asthma reliever puffer on its side

Trump recognises pharmacy accessibility; pharmacist arrested for murder of romantic partner, also a pharmacist; store slammed for refusing asthma medicine delivery

Washington, DC: A professor of public policy and international affairs and frequent Fox News guest has praised US president Donald Trump for “empowering” local pharmacies during the COVID-19 crisis, saying pharmacies are the most accessible health provider for many Americans.

Bradley A Blakeman penned a piece for The Hill opining on the President’s decision to “cut red tape and clear the way for safe, effective, convenient and affordable community testing for the coronavirus”.

“We know that 95% of Americans live within five miles of a retail pharmacy. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care provider for many Americans, and they already perform a wide range of health services beyond prescriptions and over-the-counter medical products.

“Within the scope of practice of pharmacists is the ability to conduct health and wellness testing, to manage chronic diseases and medication, to administer immunizations, to work and partner with others in the health care frontlines to advance health and wellness, and to help reduce the need for doctor, clinic or hospital visits.

“The more a local pharmacy can do for the individual, the more burden is taken off the delivery of necessary, vital medical attention to those who need it most.

“Now is the time to allow local pharmacies to step up, in light of the coronavirus crisis, to take the burden off the medical delivery system nationwide. There is no doubt that, very soon, Americans will be able to get tested at their local pharmacies,” he wrote.


Delhi, India: A hospital pharmacist has been arrested after allegedly abducting and murdering a romantic partner, the Hindustan Times reports.

Heera Singh allegedly murdered the woman, who was also a pharmacist, after she discovered that he was engaged to marry another woman. Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Atul Kumar Thakur told the Times that she had begun to pressure Mr Singh to marry her, despite family opposition.

When the woman went missing, her uncle reported her disappearance and Mr Singh, who had also gone missing, became a suspect.

The body of an unidentified woman was later found and police began to seek Mr Singh on a charge of murder as well as kidnapping.

He was located and arrested on Monday.


Milton Keynes, England: A pharmacy has come under fire for refusing to deliver medication to a patient who was self-isolating with his family for seven days due to respiratory symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus.

The man said that Peak Pharmacy on Netherfield was “rude and unhelpful” when he organised, via his GP, to have asthma medicine sent to Peak Pharmacy for delivery to his home.

He told the MK Citizen that because he had a cough, he had been using his inhaler more frequently than usual and was beginning to run out.

“Being asthmatic and potentially having Coronavirus could cause me to become seriously ill,” he said.

When he called the pharmacy, he said that “I explained I was told to self isolate, to which the woman stated ‘another self isolator’ and gave a big huff.

“She then just gave the phone to a man who was of no help whatsoever. He asked me to get someone to collect the medicine. I have no one near me. I explained this. He then they did not deliver to ‘new customers’, only to the elderly.”

The man’s GP surgery arranged for the medicine to be sent to another pharmacy which agreed to deliver.

A spokesperson for Peak Pharmacy told the Citizen that the pharmacy had not been rude or unhelpful.

“I explained we do not do deliveries unless someone is elderly or housebound. And we can’t do them for new patients,” he said.

“Delivery is not an NHS-funded service and we do not have capacity to do any more than we already do.”

Due to demand, the pharmacy’s head office was considering stopping the delivery service entirely, he said.


Chicago, Illinois: Tributes are flowing in for Lindsey Lagestee, a talented pharmacist who was also the lead singer of country band Dixie Crush.

Ms Lagestee died at the age of 25 after being hit by a car.

She had graduated with a doctor of pharmacy degree in 2018, reports the Chicago Tribune, and worked during her year’s pharmacist residency with Osco Drug, before starting a job at PharmScript in Burr Ridge.

Ms Lagestee was also a YouTube performer who starred in hundreds of performances with Dixie Crush.

“She was so accomplished at such a unique and young age to be a full doctor of pharmacy, achieving things in her professional life as well,” said the band’s guitarist, Mike Denning. “I was always so proud of what she was able to do.”

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