World news wrapup: 26 September 2019

Scottish pharmacist suspended after affair with patient; Israel looking for more pharmacists to manage shortage; Kansas man blames pharmacy for stroke

Montrose, Scotland: A Scottish pharmacist has been suspended after she had an affair with a patient and ended the relationship after he had completed home renovations for her.

Metro reports that Michelle Thomson met the man at the pharmacy where she worked, and proceeded to have “inappropriate” conversations about sex with him.

The two also exchanged sexual text messages as well as “sexting” and phone calls where sex toys were discussed.

They also attended a family party and were seen to be holding hands.

However after the man built a patio in Ms Thomson’s garden for her, she ended the relationship.

At a hearing the General Pharmaceutical Council heard that the man had been “made to pay for everything” when going out with Ms Thomson.

“He further stated that (the pharmacist) had asked him to do some manual labouring work at her home and had then ended the relationship once this was completed,” the hearing noted.

The hearing decided that Ms Thomson’s behaviour “clearly fell” below the standards expected by the profession and suspended her registration for 12 months.


Jerusalem, Israel: The Israel Pharmacists Association has used World Pharmacists Day to call for more pharmacists, including encouraging people to enter the profession, and making it easier for foreign pharmacists to practise in the country.

Israel is celebrating World Pharmacists day for the first time, and pharmacists plan to “make some noise” on social media and highlight the shortage.

David Papo, chairman of the Israel Pharmacists Association, told the Jerusalem Post that while the country has around 7000 registered pharmacists, only 5000 actually practise.

He said that if 600 more pharmacists were registered to practise tomorrow, they would be “hired in a day”.

“There is a big shortage and the Health Ministry is trying to come up with a solution,” Papo said. “Right now, we are seeing pharmacies within the national health funds close for a day or two a week because we don’t have pharmacists to occupy the counters.

“We need to enable pharmacists who learn abroad to get their licenses here in Israel more easily,” he said. “And getting their permits should be done in their languages, and not in Hebrew, so it is easier for them to pass.”

Mr Papo also suggested upskilling nurses and other health workers who might have an interest in entering the profession.


Edinburgh, Scotland: A woman has spoken out about her “humiliation” when she was refused contraception by a senior male pharmacist at an Edinburgh Boots, the Daily Record reports.

Maggie Richmond had attempted to make an appointment with her GP to get a script for the oral contraceptive pill, but was told there was a 10-day wait to get in – so she was instead advised to go to the pharmacy for an emergency repeat.

She had proof of having been previously prescribed the OCP by her GP.

However, she told the Record that the pharmacist refused to even speak with her.

She then went to another two pharmacies and spoke with two female pharmacists who said they would have dispensed the Pill if they had any in stock, which they did not.

A fourth pharmacy – also a Boots – prescribed her the emergency supply.

Ms Richmond said that she felt the first pharmacist, who had refused to speak to her, had a “misogynistic attitude”.

“I went in and explained to the shop assistant, if I could speak to the pharmacist about getting this emergency one month’s supply,” she told the Record.

“She was really quite tight-lipped and not that accommodating or friendly and said she would ask the pharmacist— she came back and told me, ‘He says no’.

“I told her this is what my GP is advising me to do—so she went back to speak to him again then came back and told me, ‘No, sorry’.

“The vibe I was getting was that his refusal was specifically to do with what I was asking for. That he didn’t want to give it to me.

“He looked up when I came in then refused to come out and speak to me. There’s a private consulting room and that option wasn’t offered to me.

“He wouldn’t even give his reason for refusing to give the emergency supply to me – maybe he did have a good reason but he’s not got a leg to stand on by not speaking to me.”

A Boots UK spokesperson apologised and said that “contraceptive pills need a blood pressure check at regular intervals, and given that this was within GP opening hours, the pharmacist’s professional view was that before dispensing, it would be appropriate to refer this patient to her GP for a check and prescription.

“We’re very sorry this wasn’t explained better to the patient, and have shared her experience with the pharmacist to improve our service in the future.”


Witchita, Kansas: A man has filed a lawsuit against Kansas CVS Pharmacy, claiming that a Wichita branch filled his script for warfarin sodium with metoprolol instead.

Ben Huie says that he had a stroke in July 2007 within 10 days after taking the metoprolol while unaware that it was not warfarin.

Mr Huie is seeking at least US$75,000 (AUD$110,546) in damages, reports the Wichita Eagle.

Kansas CVS Pharmacy has provided a court response saying that the branch, at 13th and Maize, did not dispense the wrong drug in December 2016, or cause the stroke.

The Eagle reports that Mr Huie has “unspecified” medical conditions which mean he has to take varying dosages of warfarin sodium depending on regular testing of how his blood clots. As a result, he has scripts for different doses of the medicine and has a stockpile of tablets to facilitate the varied doses.

He said that he had filled the scripts at CVS stores in Kansas for years.

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