World news wrapup: 22 February 2018

supermarket shopping retail

Canadian crackdown on Pharmacy-Only drugs sold in grocery; a new hope in New Zealand; pharmacist nominated for “Unsung Hero” award

New Zealand: New Health Minister David Clark has given pharmacy stakeholders reason to feel confident, Scoop Health reports.

Community Pharmacy Leaders Forum chair Graeme Blanchard said the Forum was invited to meet the Minister and has been impressed with his “genuine interest” in the pharmacy sector.

“The meeting was very much focused on how community pharmacy can deliver on the Pharmacy Action Plan through service delivery and through pharmacists being enabled to work at the top of scope,” Mr Blanchard said.

“The Minister was interested in hearing about local initiatives and services that were putting patients at the core of their foundation. He also expressed interest in lifting the profile of clinical pharmacy services and advice, and adapting to change within our current systems as technology advances.

“While this was CPLF’s first meeting with the Minister we hope that this will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation and a positive and constructive relationship.

“CPLF has left this meeting with confirmed confidence in our Health Minister. We can assure the sector that Hon Dr David Clark sees value in community pharmacy playing a greater role within primary health care and that he is engaged and listening.”


New Brunswick, Canada: Certain restrictions have been in force for decades regarding medicines including Sudafed, Benadryl and Gravol (Dimenhydrinate) but these have been largely ignored, Global News reports.

But now, the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists is cracking down on the sale of these products in non-pharmacy outlets such as convenience stores and service stations.

“A lot of the public tends to think of these products as fairly benign and safe, and we have had a little bit of a lax attitude about them,” says college registrar Sam Lanctin.

“But the reality is, there are risks with these products and we encourage people to speak with a pharmacist when they’re looking for these products.

“These products will still be available for sale over the counter in a pharmacy. But they’re not meant to be used in a corner store without having the supervision of a pharmacist.”


Fife, Scotland: A hospital pharmacist has been nominated for an “Unsung Hero” award after he helped a chemotherapy patient who was experiencing severe nausea.

Lorna Kennedy became very ill one weekend, the Courier reports, and became unable to eat, drink or sleep. She telephoned Victoria Hospital for help and was connected to pharmacist Iain Rivans.

“Through tears I tried to explain my predicament and my inability to get help,” she told the Courier.

“He listened patiently and showed great compassion.”

After providing advice, Mr Rivans rang Ms Kennedy every day for the next several days to check on her wellbeing.

“When I thanked him he said cheerfully that it was all part of the service,” said Ms Kennedy, who nominated Mr Rivans for the award.

“Iain went way beyond the call of duty and his passion and dedication to the patients he encounters is something rare and worthy of note.”

Mr Rivans said that he planned to take his mother, who suffers from periodic depression, to the awards ceremony in Manchester.

“I always keep in touch with my mum and especially so during these episodes so I am used to phoning her to check in on her,” he said.

“I could therefore relate to this patient being at home, feeling miserable so that is why I took her under my wing so to speak.”


UK: Morrisons has come to the defence of a pharmacy which was given a “poor” rating by consumer group Which?.

Which? sent undercover researchers to a number of pharmacies to see how well they performed in two scenarios: a patient buying a lot of paracetamol and a patient buying two ibuprofen-containing preparations together.

One Morrisons pharmacy was given a “poor” rating when it refused to sell ibuprofen and Sudafed Sinus Pressure and Pain (phenylephrine/ibuprofen) together.

Chemist + Druggist reports that Morrisons has supported the decision.

“We support our pharmacists in not supplying pharmacy (P) medicines to a customer if there is any local concern that the customer might take the medication inappropriately,” the supermarket said.

“We have restated this guidance to our pharmacy teams.”

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