World news wrapup: 28 March 2019

steve brine
Steve Brine has resigned as the UK's Pharmacy Minister.

NZ pharmacist donates halal meals to terror victims; Nigerian pharmacist wins global award with fake drug spotter; UK loses another pharmacy minister

Christchurch, New Zealand: A pharmacist from Rototuna, on New Zealand’s North Island, has teamed up with her father-in-law (an events caterer) and community members to deliver 160 halal meals for the victims of Christchurch’s recent terror attacks.

Keshree Naidoo-Rauf said that the initiative was being funded by the Rototuna Business Network, the NZ Herald reports; and was supported by Hamilton Airport and Air New Zealand.

This network is made up of around 20 companies, including the Unichem Pharmacy which she and her husband own together.

Ms Naidoo-Rauf said she got the idea when she saw a media report that Christchurch was experiencing a shortage of pre-packaged halal food.


Paris, France: A pharmacist from Nigeria has won the 2019 deepTech Challenge at the Hello Tomorrow summit held in Paris.

Adebayo Alonge was the co-developer of a miniature nanoscanner which uses artificial intelligence to spot fake medicines, reports Sahara Reporters.

Users can also assess the quality of medicines using the system via a mobile phone.

The deepTech Challenge, held by the non-profit Hello Tomorrow, saw 4,500 deepTech startups from 119 countries apply.

Mr Alonge’s startup, RxAll, came away with a €100,000 (AUD$158,344) prize. It also won the Digital Health category at the contest, attracting another €15,000 (AUD$23,754).


UK: Britain’s Pharmacy Minister, Steve Brine, has resigned from the government in order to vote against Theresa May over the government’s Brexit strategy, reports Chemist + Druggist.

Former pharmacy minister Alistair Burt and another Conservative MP also resigned.

In a resignation letter, he said he felt passionately that leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement or deal was not acceptable.

He paid tribute to the team at the Department of Health, who have “done everything they can to ensure medicines and medical supplies will be protected for patients whatever form our exit from the EU takes”.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes said that Mr Brine had been a key figure in rebuilding a constructive working relationship between the Government and the PSNC.

“He regularly expressed his support for community pharmacy in parliamentary statements and beyond, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as an MP on pharmacy and public health matters,” he said.

“Given the extraordinary situation in parliament at the moment, it is unclear when another minister might be appointed.”


Odessa, Florida: Ademola O. Adebayo, a pharmacist from Odessa, has been handed a 10-year prison sentence for his role in a fraud scheme.

In January, Mr Adebayo was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, three counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, reports Fierce Healthcare.

The Department of Justice said Mr Adebayo, while working at the A to Z Pharmacy (which is now closed), would regularly submit claims for a number of medicines, particularly pain and scar creams, which were not medically required and at prices inflated by up to thousands of dollars.

Between 2012 and 2015, he defrauded private health insurers of USD$121 million (over AUD$170 million).

Insurers uncovered the scheme in 2014 and put an end to their contracts with the A to Z, but Mr Adebayo proceeded to become the “straw owner” of another pharmacy in Miama, where he and his co-conspirators continued to make fraudulent claims.

He made US$1.5 million (AUD$2,108,535) which he used to buy luxury cars and a home, all of which have been seized by the US Government.

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