World news wrapup: 3 November 2016


We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Minnesota, US: The Minnesota State Pharmacy Board is proposing new rules which would prohibit pharmacies from requiring pharmacists to work more than 12 hours straight in a day, the Mankato Free Press reports.

The new rule, which would also allow pharmacists a 30-minute break if they work more than six hours in a row, is aimed at reducing errors caused by pharmacist fatigue.

“Basically there have been studies done in related professions that have showed the likelihood of errors goes up in high-pressure intense working conditions of health care, and we think that’s exactly what’s happening in pharmacies these days,” said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

The Free Press reports that there has been opposition to the move from stakeholders including large chain pharmacies, with CVS Health submitting, for example, that pharmacists should continue to manage their own work schedules.

Some pharmacists interviewed by the outlet expressed concern about how the new rule could work in smaller pharmacies in particular, which might only have one pharmacist at work at any given time.

“If the banker leaves, the bank doesn’t shut down,” Brent Blair, owner and usually the only pharmacist at Trail Creek Health Center Pharmacy, said. “You get between a rock and a hard place.”

 

Hull, UK: An attempted robber and former boxer got more than he bargained for when he attempted to rob a Boots pharmacy in Hull: four female pharmacy staff managed to restrain him until police arrived.

HotNews reports that Michael Newton, a former boxer who had recently relapsed into a heroin addiction, entered the pharmacy, went to the dispensary and attempted to steal from the till.

But the store’s manager shoved Newton and shouted, “Oi, stop!” She threatened him with a bin lid and was soon joined by three colleagues and eventually a male passerby.

Newton was wrestled to the ground and restrained until police arrived shortly afterwards.

Pharmacist Ru Ong said, “The manager tried to stop him and they struggled back and forth, but she just would not allow him to get away.

“He was struggling and swinging his elbows, but we kept hold of his jacket so he would not get away.”

Image: YouTube

 

Iowa, US: Up to 700 patients at a Des Moines hospital could be affected by the actions of a pharmacy technician who stole opioids, Pharmacy Times reports.

Between late August and early October 2016 the technician, who has not been named, allegedly replaced solutions of fentanyl with saline while working at the Unity Point Methodist Medical Center.

This left as many as 700 patients being given either diluted medication, or saline alone.

A colleague alerted the hospital to the alleged thefts and the technician was placed on leave; he is now no longer employed there and he has cancelled his technician registration.

The hospital has alerted all 700 patients who were potentially affected.

 

UK: Only 41% of the students who sat the pharmacy registration examination in September passed the test, Chemist + Druggist reports.

The UK pharmacy magazine cites General Pharmaceutical Council statistics that show that of 660 candidates, only 269 passed.

In June, 95% of candidates passed and last September, the rate was 64%.

Pharmacy students last month planned a protest against the exam, which they said had set “unfair and unrealistic standards”.

A petition was also launched against the exam, citing “unrealistic calculations” expected of students.

Pre-reg tutor Mitesh Patel told C+D that the majority of students “found it difficult to even finish [the exam]” because the questions were “extremely long and bulky”.

“A lot of the students have become disheartened and demotivated after taking this exam,” Patel said.

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