World news wrapup: 22 March 2018

The Dallas bar formerly known as The Pharmacy. Image: Facebook

Alaskan naturopaths want prescribing privileges; milkshake bar runs afoul of Texas Pharmacy Act; Boots reveals gender pay gap

Dallas, Texas: A bar and eatery in the Deep Ellum entertainment district of Dallas, billed as a “modern take on a vintage Drug Store/Soda Fountain,” has been closed after it ran afoul of the Texas Pharmacy Act.

Dallas Eater reports that the “boozy milkshake joint,” which went by the name of The Pharmacy, has to change its name after the Texas State Board of Pharmacy told the bar only registered pharmacies are permitted to use the word “pharmacy” in their name.

“Specifically, the name ‘pharmacy’ or ‘apothecary’ cannot be used by any business except those that are registered pharmacies with the state,” it said.

The bar’s owner, Danny Wilson, says the current location will open this week as Select Start Bar and Arcade, though without the milkshakes.


Fairbanks, Alaska: Naturopaths are arguing for the ability to prescribe medicines, reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Naturopaths want the ability to vaccinate patients, provide vitamin shots, treat some illnesses without having to refer to medical doctors, and “help wean them off medications,” the paper reports.

Alaska’s highest court knocked back a lawsuit from the Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians, which is based in Fairbanks, though two bills which would allow them to prescribe are still pending.

It had come to light that some naturopaths were administering treatments including B-12 shots, which need a prescription, and that some pharmacists were refusing to fill scripts written by naturopaths; the state then investigated these naturopaths and the pharmacists who did provide the treatments.

Alaska’s state Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing made a statement declaring that naturopaths should not write prescriptions and give vitamin shots – and the Association sued.

“In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the Legislature did not intend to provide prescribing privileges when it set up the licensing structure for naturopaths,” the News-Miner reports.


UK: Boots has made public the amount it pays its male and female employees – revealing a gap of 21% between the male and female hourly rates.

Chemist + Druggist reports that the chain’s workforce is 78% female, comprising 57,000 workers.

Boots says it believes the main reason for the gap was that men were clustered in the higher-paying roles in the organisation.

It says its 5% median gender pay gap – which as C+D reports “takes the mid-point when all hourly rates are lined up from biggest to smallest, reducing the impact of one-off outliers” – is “significantly better” than the UK average of 18.4%.

According to Boots the gender imbalance at its higher levels is due to “variations in the proportion of males and females in different functional areas”, with women comprising 78% of HR roles but only 28% of higher-paid IT roles.


Johannesburg, South Africa: The Alexandra township in Johannesburg is the first South African location to receive an ATM-like vending machine that dispenses medicines for people with chronic conditions, including HIV/AIDS.

Africa News reports that the Pharmacy Dispensing Unit is the first of its kind in Africa and allows patients to receive repeat medicines in minutes.

They will have the opportunity to talk to pharmacists located at a call centre by using a phone located on the unit.

“I spoke to at least three patients, one patient was coming for the first time, she used to take… she’s on ART for a year, she used to queue in the clinic, she’s really fascinated that she can come here, get her medication and go home, but I was with her at the ATM, she was a little bit uneasy, but she say now second time, she will be able to use it,” said Dr Gwendoline Ramokgopa, a Municipal Health Official.

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