World news wrapup: 27 June 2019

woman helping brown dog

Free scripts from NZ’s Woollies pharmacies; pharmacist goes viral after helping street dog; US pharmacist sentenced for drug theft and firearm offences

Tauranga, New Zealand: Three supermarket pharmacies – owned by Countdown, the New Zealand equivalent of Woolworths’ – introduced free scripts on Tuesday.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the pharmacies – in Countdown Fraser Cove, Countdown Bayfair and Countdown The Valley – hope to save their patients more than NZ$135,000 (AUD$128,905) each year.

Countdown has already trialled free scripts in Auckland and the offer received positive feedback.

“Our in-store pharmacist expertise will continue to focus on patient care, while at the same time providing customers with lower prices and free prescriptions for their pharmacy needs,” said Jeremy Armes, the head pharmacist at Countdown.

Countdown now has 30 pharmacies I stores across the country, the first of which opened in 2012.


Istanbul, Turkey: When an injured dog needed help, it turned to pharmacist and dog lover Banu Cengiz, whose video of the incident has gone viral.

Ms Cengiz is a dog lover who adopted a street dog years ago, and who has created a dog lounge with food and water outside her Istanbul pharmacy, reports The Dodo, which says stray dogs are a common sight in the area.

This week, she noticed a dog waiting at the pharmacy’s door, rather than sitting in the dog lounge area.

“She was looking at me,” Ms Cengiz told The Dodo. “I said, ‘Baby, is there a problem?’”

She encouraged the dog to come inside the store and found that the dog was bleeding from one paw; then cleaned the injury and gave the dog antibiotics.

“When I was done, she laid down as if to thank me,” she said.

Ms Cengiz allowed the dog to stay inside the pharmacy for the day to recover and rest, but told The Dodo she wished she could have done more.

“I’ve been dealing with street animals for years. I feed them and heal them, and help them find homes when I can,” she said.

United States: The CVS pharmacy chain is introducing time-delay safes in its pharmacies in seven states, reports Fox 2 Detroit.

The program is aimed at improving safety for pharmacists who might be subject to robberies by opioid-seeking patients.

“If someone is coming and seeking drugs that shouldn’t get them, either with a prescription and they stand at the counter and they scream at the pharmacist because the pharmacist won’t fill the prescription, or with a gun,” said Elizabeth Ferguson, deputy general counsel CVS.

Ms Ferguson told Fox that the chain’s pharmacists have experienced situations where a drug safe did not open, and robbers have left without obtaining drugs.

She said that the system will involve all controlled substance narcotics being stored in the safes, and that only one script can be filled at a time.


Paducah, Kentucky: A pharmacist has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release, after his conviction for a range of convictions including stealing medicines and illegally carrying a firearm.

The Murray Ledger reports that Kyle W. Humphrey, who had been employed at several local pharmacies, stole pre-retail prescription medicines, mislabelled prescription medicine packaging in order to defraud or mislead, and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm

When the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office raided Mr Humphrey’s home in 2017, they found and seized a number of pre-retail drugs, including apixaban, atomoxetine HCI, albuterol sulfate, dapagliflozin, Cefprozil, Tamiflu, Duloxetine; Aripiprazole; Ergocalciferol; Levofloxacin; nebivolol; rivaroxaban, Clindamycin Palmitate HCL, Mylan Norethindrone tablets, Camila Norethindrone tablets, Testosterone Gel tubes, and Testosterone Cypionate. 

Mr Humphrey had stolen the drugs from the pharmacies where he worked.

He had also been issued a domestic violence order restraining him from contacting a former intimate partner, which he violated in 2018. He was arrested over this incident and found to be carrying a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun.

In September 2018, he violated another domestic violence order against a different person, and this time was found to be in possession of a Glock 23. 40 calibre pistol.

“Health care professionals who disrupt the FDA-regulated supply chain for prescription drugs put the health of all consumers at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office.

“We will continue to investigate and bring to justice pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who abuse the trust of U.S. consumers and patients.”

Mr Humphrey has also been ordered to pay US$21,216.94 (AUD$30,468.16) to the three pharmacies he had stolen from.

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