World news wrapup: 28 June 2018

Chemist Warehouse
Image by Francisco Anzola

A third Chemist Warehouse for New Zealand; Welsh-speaking pharmacy program for Gywnedd; UK considering online pharmacy crackdown

Auckland: Chemist Warehouse is continuing it rollout across the Tasman with a third store about to open at Westfield Manukau City in Auckland’s south, reports Pharmacy Today.

The publication spoke to Azman Haroon, NZ director of Chemist Warehouse, who said that the company plans to open 70 to 120 stores across New Zealand.

While he confirmed the location of the new pharmacy, he would not be drawn on when it was planned to open, though said that like the two existing shops, it would offer no prescription fees and heavily discounted merchandise.

Pharmacy Today also spoke to the owner of the nearby Unichem Manukau Pharmacy, Mohammad Hamadeh, who said the discounted prescriptions were “obviously not a good thing for business”.

“Discounting on prescriptions makes for the most trouble – otherwise everything else is game,” he said, adding that he’d “wait and see” but that he thought the market would likely change significantly in the area.


Gwynedd, Wales: A pilot project is encouraging pharmacy staff in Gwynedd to speak Welsh with their Welsh-speaking patients, and make Welsh signage more prominent in pharmacies, the Bangor Aye reports.

The project is a collaboration between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Hunaniaith and Menter Iaith Bangor, and was launched at Morrisons Bangor.

It involves the distribution of “Welsh in the Pharmacy” packs, which Sioned Roberts, a translator for the Welsh Language Services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said were “a practical tool to implement our active offer, which provides the option to give a service in Welsh without a member of the public having to ask for it”.

This is a key part of the Welsh Government’s More Than Just Words Framework for Welsh language services in health, social services and social care.

The packs will help pharmacists and staff develop a face-to-face service for patients in Welsh, the Aye reports.

Gwynedd is the county with the highest proportion of Welsh speakers.


UK: Britain’s General Pharmaceutical Council is considering a crackdown on online pharmacies, including those with the ability for patients to select a drug before talking to a doctor.

The GPhC is asking stakeholders for their opinions on changes to its guidance for pharmacy services provided on the internet or at a distance.

“We aim to strengthen our guidance to make clear what our expectations are of pharmacy owners who provide these services,” it says.

Its proposals concern transparency and patient choice, including that patients should know the name and physical address of the pharmacy, the name of the responsible pharmacist, and the name, location and nature of prescribers; and ensuring that medicines are clinically appropriate for patients.

It warns that some website are designed in a way which allows patients to choose a prescription only medicine before having a consultation with a prescriber, and that this carries “additional risks”.

The GPhC is also proposing further safeguards for certain categories of prescription-only medicines, such as antibiotics, opioids and sedatives, and medicines for chronic conditions and mental health conditions. It suggests that these classes of drugs may not be suitable to be prescribed and supplied online “unless further action is taken to make sure that they are clinically appropriate for the patient”.


Doncaster, UK: An inquest into the death of 84-year-old Richard Lee has been told that a Boots pharmacy accidentally gave him twice the amount of medication he expected.

He had previously obtained dosulepin and blood pressure drugs from Boots’ Askern branch, but after it found itself unable to process his prescription, gave responsibility for his medicine to the group’s Frenchgate branch, where a repeat prescription was filled.

The handling of the medicine was again handed on, this time to a third Boots attached to the Askern medical practice Mr Lee attended, the BBC reports. The receptionist at this practice was told by the Askern branch that they were taking over from Frenchgate, and another repeat was filled.

As a result, Mr Lee ended up with double the medicine he expected. His daughter told the inquest that he would have expected that he should take them all, and would not have liked to “make a fuss” about it.

She said before he died, her father had seemed “subdued and tired”.


UK: Thanks to a human error, more than 3000 Lloydspharmacy staff were paid late this month, reports Chemist + Druggist.

The 3,200 staff were supposed to receive their monthly salary in the early hours of the morning, but instead weren’t paid until “towards the end of the day,” the pharmacy publication reports.

Lloydspharmacy said that this was due to human error at the payroll provider level and apologised for the delay.

“We have arranged for additional people to take calls from anyone with questions or concerns and in the unlikely event that anyone’s bank or building society has not credited the money on the correct day we will, of course, reimburse any charges incurred,” it said.

C+D quoted one Lloydspharmacy employee who tweeted that she went to work on June 25 without knowing if she would be paid that day.

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