World news wrapup: 26 July 2018

Alvin Ahmed. Image: Facebook
Alvin Ahmed. Image: Facebook

Young pharmacist feared abducted; pharmacist humiliates transgender woman by refusing supply; man describes intimidating pharmacist as “fun”

Loganville, Georgia: Grave fears are held for Alvin Ahmed, a recent pharmacy graduate who is believed to have been abducted shortly after finishing a shift at the pharmacy where he worked.

According to AJC news, Mr Ahmed has not been seen since he finished a shift at the Publix pharmacy. According to his brother Kalvin, Alvin’s car was found unlocked in the pharmacy’s parking area, and the glovebox had been searched.

Mr Ahmed’s groceries and white pharmacist coat were still in the car.

“Alvin was forcibly taken away,” his brother wrote on Facebook. “After speaking with his best friends and coworkers, he had no other plans but to be home. That’s the last thing he told me and our mom.”

A body has been found in a nearby lake but at the time of writing, it had not been identified.

Monroe Local News reports that a vigil was held for the pharmacist, who was about to embark on his career with Publix, having just finished gaining his qualifications.


Phoenix, Arizona: A CVS pharmacist has had his employment terminated after he refused to supply hormone treatment to a transgender woman.

Hilde Hall wrote a blog piece at the American Civil Liberties Union’s website outlining how she had been excited to begin treatment, having just received her first prescription for the medication.

“I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,” she wrote. Ms Hall went to the CVS pharmacist in Fountain Hills, a suburb of Phoenix, but was refused the medicine.

“He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal. He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions,” she wrote.

“I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.

“When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled. I left the store feeling mortified.”

Her doctor contacted the pharmacist, who continued to refuse supply, and another script was later filled at a Walgreens.

In a statement to The Hill, CVS Health apologised to Ms Hall and said that the pharmacist had been let go.

His actions did not “reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care,” the statement said.


Perth, Scotland: A man has described asking a pharmacist if she would like to see naked pictures of himself as “the best fun he’d had in years”.

Australian-born Robert Basterfield attempted to buy Viagra from a Boots pharmacy where the woman worked, reports The Sun.

When she began to discuss erectile dysfunction with him, he asked if she would like to see pictures of his genitals.

The victim felt intimidated and Mr Basterfield was asked to leave the store. However, he came back later in the day to again attempt to buy Viagra, from another female pharmacy worker.

He faced court on charges relating to the incident and found guilty of finding the first pharmacist alarm and distress. While he faces jail, he was bailed until sentencing.

The Sun reports that in 2007, Mr Basterfield was the first man in Britain to be given a “unique, five-year sex offences prevention order” aimed at preventing him from “accosting” women on their own.

At the time police pushed to have him prevented from any one-on-one contact with women and girls for 30 years, but were unsuccessful.


Wales, UK: The Welsh Government has backed the Pharmacists’ Defence Association’s Safer Pharmacies Charter, and a zero-tolerance approach to violence in pharmacies.

A copy of the Charter, which outlines seven commitments to improve safety and care through patients through better working conditions in UK pharmacy practice, is set to be distributed across Wales shortly.

“We are pleased to have the endorsement of the Welsh Government for this campaign and we know that delivering a safe working environment means working with staff, patients and employers,” said Claire Ward, PDA Director of Public Affairs.

“Wales has led the way but we will be talking to relevant parties and organisations across all parts of the UK to get them to sign up to this important campaign.”

The Safer Pharmacies Charter will be circulated along with the PDA’s Violence in Pharmacy policy and resource pack as part of a joint campaign by the PDA and Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW).  

The Violence in Pharmacy documents were produced by the PDA as a result of a number of their members raising cases of violence perpetrated against pharmacy staff. The endorsement of CPW for this initiative recognises the importance of employers supporting staff and assessing the risks that they may face.

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