World news wrapup: 21 April 2016

Boots shopfront

This week’s pharmacy news from around the world

UK: Chemist + Druggist reports that the UK’s General Pharmaceutical Council is liaising with the Pharmacists’ Defence Association in regard to information it shared with the Guardian about Boots UK pharmacists being pressured to do MURs.

The regulator is seeking material including that from an unpublished PDA study referred to in the Guardian’s expose on Boots practices.

Boots has also spoken again to C+D, stating that it has reminded its pharmacists of its guidance on providing MURs: these standards frame an expectation that services “must be for the benefit of patients, not the attainment of numerical targets,” C+D reports.


UK: Boots UK has been recognised in the 2016 Responsible Business Awards for inspiring young people from all communities to experience the world of work, helping improve their confidence and career opportunities, the pharmacy chain said in a media release today.

Every year, HRH The Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Network,  Business in the Community, ‘reaccredits’ a number of companies who are able to demonstrate the continual positive impact of a programme that has previously received an award accolade.

Boots UK was initially recognised in 2014 for the Inspiring Young Talent Award for its ‘Let’s Inspire’ program, as it continues its work to tackle high youth unemployment by boosting the skills, aspirations and confidence of young people. Boots UK was also the national winner in the ‘Work Inspiration’ category in 2012.

Stephanie May, Apprenticeship and Access to Work Programme Manager at Boots UK, says: “We strongly believe that we have an important role to play in improving the lives of young people; and helping improve access to work and employment is crucial to this.

“These initiatives help us to connect with young people in and around our local communities providing work experience opportunities and further education through our apprenticeship schemes.”


Washington State, US: Pharmacist Benjamin David Walling has been suspended after he was accused of being impaired on the job.

“Charges state that while at work, Walling appeared impaired, confused, and seemed to hallucinate that people were hiding in the counselling room and standing at the pharmacy counter,” Washington State Department of Health says.

“Charges also say he provided the wrong medication to two patients, the wrong quantity to two other patients, and filled a schedule IV controlled substance for himself.

“Walling submitted to a urinalysis, which tested positive for fentanyl.”

Walling cannot practice as a pharmacist in Washington until the charges are resolved.


Bullard, Texas: Pharmacy Times reports that pharmacist Ellawyn Baker saved the life of a woman who experienced an anaphylactic reaction while out for a run.

A couple were getting some exercise when the woman began to experience allergic symptoms; they turned to the pharmacy at Brookshire Grocery Company for help.

When I walked over there to talk to him, I saw his wife,” Dr Baker told the Pharmacy Times. “Her face was swollen, her eyes were almost swollen shut and were watering profusely, and she was breathing heavily.”

Dr Baker administered an EpiPen and called Emergency Services. The woman began to breathe freely again not long afterwards.

As of 1 January 2016, pharmacists are permitted to administer epinephrine in emergency situations, and are protected from liability.


Wellington, NZ: A handful of District Health Boards are now providing funded sharps disposal services via community pharmacies, which the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand has welcomed.

Guild Chief Executive, Lee Hohaia says, “We are pleased to see these DHBs taking the risk posed to patients and communities from the incorrect disposal of sharps seriously, and taking the initiative to fund safe sharps disposal services in their regions.

“We hope that DHBs will also consider funding community pharmacy to provide this patient centric service, as they currently do this work for free. Consideration needs to be given to the involvement community pharmacy has in coordinating and informing patients about these services and the safe disposal of needles, as well as to how they are expected to store the disposal bins.

“Community pharmacy, as the health professional seen most often, is ideally placed to provide education and information to patients using injectable medicines about the safe and correct way to dispose of their used needles.

“In the absence of a funded disposal service, sharps have been found to be disposed of in all sorts of potentially harmful ways. Both the public and the environment are at risk when needles are disposed of with general household waste which can pose the risk of needle-stick injuries, or when needles are disposed of down sinks and drains where they can end up in waterways and ultimately, in the water that we drink.

“The Guild continues to advocate for a nationally funded pharmaceutical waste management system which includes the safe disposal of sharps. We hope that other DHBs will also consider allocating funding for similar initiatives in their regions to help keep their communities healthy and safe.”


US: The AJP has received an interesting snap from a display at pharmacy giant Walgreens, taking a novel approach to flu treatment…


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1 Comment

  1. ernie

    Is that a trivalent or quadrivalent flu shot???

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