World news wrapup: 2 May 2019

British pharmacist allegedly spiked co-worker’s drink with laxative; British pharmacist accused of Islamic State atrocities; UK to get opioid addiction warnings

Birmingham, UK: A pharmacist has appeared in court on a charge of causing a noxious thing to be taken with intent to annoy, after he allegedly slipped a laxative into a colleague’s drink.

The Daily Mail has reported on the trial of Shahan Mir, who was working at a Boots pharmacy in a suburb of Birmingham when he allegedly put Lactulose into Farah Abdulquader’s bottle of water.

When interviewed, Mr Mir said that he had asked Miss Abdulquader not to bring her own bottles of water while she was working on the pharmacy’s floor, but that she had kept up the practice.

He allegedly sneaked the laxative into the water when she was not looking.

After Ms Abdul took a sip, she spat the water out and realised the water in her bottle was yellow, rather than clear.

She alerted the pharmacy’s security officer and viewed security footage which showed Mr Mir taking the bottle and replacing it shortly afterwards, the Mail reports.

Mr Mir has denied the charge and the trial continues.


UK: A British pharmacist has denied swearing allegiance to Islamic State, reports the UK’s Metro, which claims that he helped British doctor Issam Abuanza in acts of torture.

In a piece titled “British medical workers ‘carried out Nazi-style experiments’ after joining Islamic State,” Metro alleges that the doctor carried out tests using “unknown chemicals”.

The pharmacist, Mohammad Anwar Miah, is alleged to have assisted the doctor with unethical operations.

The allegations were made by an activist group whose members have survived living under IS rule and some have been supported by Western intelligence agencies, says Metro.

Mr Miah, from Birmingham, has claimed that he went to Syria to undertake humanitarian work treating civilians, and that he wishes to return to the UK.


UK: The UK is set to alter the packaging of all opioid medicines to include a “prominent” label warning of the potential for addiction.

Chemist + Druggist reports that the decision followed an increase of more than 60% in the number of packs dispensed over the last 10 years – from 14 million in 20018, to 23 million in 2018.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, says that he is “incredibly concerned” about the rise of opioid addiction, and that while such analgesics were a significant breakthrough in modern medicine, they must be “treated with caution”.

The change is set to be implemented by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, a Guardian investigation has seen major online pharmacies in the UK accused of using “inappropriate” marketing tools to sell opioids including codeine.

The Guardian alleges that at least two large pharmacies are sending emails to customers informing them that they can buy more codeine as their “limit” no longer applies; or encouraging them to buy the medicines by stating that their stocks are dwindling.

One email quoted by The Guardian includes the line, “What are you waiting for?” and “This item is going fast so grab them while you still can.”


Ontario, Canada: Pharmacists in the province of Ontario now have until March 202 to pass a mandatory course on cannabis.

In a Canadian first, the Ontario College of Pharmacists decided that pharmacists – who can not yet dispense medicinal cannabis – must become up to date with latest cannabis research.

Pharmacists still need to be able to advise their patients on the use of the drug, the College says, including its effects and potential medicines interactions.

“As medication experts who are often the most accessible health-care provider for patients, pharmacy professionals play an important role in educating their patients if equipped with the necessary knowledge,” the college said in a statement.

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