World news wrapup: 26 October 2017

Pharmacists reprimanded for breaching Prince’s privacy; Saudi pharmacist hailed as example of women’s education; Ontario pharmacist arrested for helping robbers

Indiana: Several pharmacists were caught out attempting to access the medical records of musician Prince, who died in April 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

Drug Topics reports that within days of the singer-songwriter’s death, three pharmacists – who had not previously treated the musician – attempted to access his medical records through the INSPECT database operated in Indiana.

This database allows health professionals, including doctors and pharmacists, to examine patients’ histories regarding controlled substances.

They were unable to actually get Prince’s data, however, as the INSPECT system required them to enter information on the medical or pharmaceutical treatment they were providing for a patient, or to evaluate the need for treatment.

The pharmacists have been reprimanded by Indiana’s state Pharmacy Board.

Kimberly M Henson, who had tried twice to get the records, was fined US$1000 (AUD$1293) and ordered to complete 12 hours of ethics education, while Michael Eltzroth, who attempted to access Prince’s data only once, received the same consequences. Katrina A Kalb was ordered to complete 12 hours’ ethics education.


Saudi Arabia: A pharmacist has been showered with praise after she helped save an elderly patient in-flight – and hailed as an example of education for women in the area.

Khalida Al Enezi, a pharmacist employed by the Tabuk Health Information Centre, put up her hand to help when a 70-year-old man became ill on a flight from Riyadh to Tabuk, suffering from breathing difficulty, chest pain, dizziness and numbness in his left hand.

Ms Al Enezi and two other health professionals moved the man to the first class section and helped him until the flight landed and he could be hospitalised.

Social media users praised her dedication and called for her to be rewarded, the Gulf News reports.

One said that education for girls was “paying off”.

“She was able, thanks to her knowledge and skills, to save a life,” he said. “This is a great answer to those who are not keen on women advancing under all kinds of fallacious claims that are not related to the new reality in the kingdom.”


Georgina, Ontario: A pharmacist is facing charges related to conspiracy to commit break and enter, conspiracy to commit trafficking in a controlled substance, public mischief and theft over CAD$5000 (AUD$5103), after he allegedly helped two people rob a pharmacy.

Pharmacist Michael Christopher Yamasaki allegedly helped Geoffrey Prior and Wendy Page rob Ben’s Pharmacy in Georgina just before it opened at 9am one day in September.

The two suspects donned balaclavas and allegedly demanded drugs from a safe at gunpoint, and were given fentanyl as well as other drugs.

When police conducted a search of a residence in Georgina, they learned that the suspects had been aided in the robbery.

As well as the above charges, the two and Mr Yamasaki are facing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of property obtained by crime, Global News reports.


Pretoria, South Africa: Pharmacist Alfred Moloko Mokoditoa has accused a medical aid company of “unlawfully” withholding payments, which he describes as bribery, the Sunday Tribune reports.

Last week, the Sunday Tribune revealed that doctors were opposing medical schemes which they said attempted to extort money from them by withholding payments; now, Mr Mokoditoa says Polmed, a subsidiary of Medscheme, is behaving in a similar manner.

The doctors had told the Tribune that medical aid schemes were accusing them of fraud and were illegally using “spy tapes” to keep an eye on their practices.

Mr Mokoditoa, who owns four Pretoria pharmacies, says Polmed has owed him R1.6 million ($AUD$ 150,638) since 2010.

“The scheme refused to pay and alleged fraud on all my claims,” he said. “Payment due was unlawfully withheld. Certain employees of the forensic unit started to demand R200,000 for my payments to resume.

“They came into my pharmacy and requested I hand over the money in cash, but I refused.”

Polmed has only paid back R300,000, leaving him still at least R1 million out of pocket.

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