World news wrapup: 31 October 2019

Former pharmacist jailed for filming colleagues in bathroom; NZ pharmacists to be paid to deliver MMR; Mississippi county to be left without a pharmacy

New Zealand: Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter has announced that trained pharmacists will soon be able to vaccinate people aged 16 and over against measles, mumps and rubella.

“The Ministry of Health, PHARMAC and District Health Boards have been actively working to make sure New Zealand’s 840 trained pharmacist vaccinators are able to help immunise their communities against measles,” Ms Genter says.

“This is really important – the current measles outbreak has shown it’s vital we have pharmacists and DHBs working together on a joined up approach to immunisation. We’re seeing some encouraging progress around new case numbers, but the work of pharmacist vaccinators is an added tool in the fight.

“In South Auckland for example, there are around 30 pharmacies in Counties Manukau that could vaccinate and be called on.

“And pharmacist vaccinators played an important role in responding to the Northland meningococcal outbreak, providing more than 700 vaccines in that region so we know this is a system that works.

“Enabling pharmacist vaccinators increases the number of frontline places people can get vaccinated. Pharmacies are convenient, locally trusted locations for many people and will help get more people protected from measles,” she says.

“One vaccination protects 95% of people, two vaccinations protects 99% of people. By making it easy for those over 16 to get vaccinated we will improve this group’s immunity to measles.

“This is a significant development in the fight against measles. To enable it, we’ve had to work through some important logistics which included adding MMR on the Pharmaceutical schedule, so pharmacists can be paid for delivering it.”


Multnomah County, Oregon: KPTV reports that Johnny Tuck Chee Chan, a former Portland pharmacist, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and must register as a sex offender.

Mr Chan pleaded guilty last month to 20 counts of first-degree invasion of privacy after he secretly recorded at least 70 people with hidden cameras in the bathrooms of two places he worked, including a Kaiser Permanente facility where he was a pharmacist.

The facility was not open to the public, and the bathrooms were used by co-workers.

After he was fired by Kaiser Permanente, Mr Chan got a job at a Banana Republic store and continued to secretly film bathroom users. It was here that he was arrested in late 2018.

He did not distribute the footage.

According to KPTV, several of Mr Chan’s victims gave evidence about how they felt about the invasion of privacy and “overwhelming” anxiety that has resulted.


Kemper County, Mississippi: An entire county in rural Mississippi now has no access to a pharmacy, after the Fred’s Pharmacy chain closed down this month.

According to the News&Observer, the group decided earlier this year that it would close its hundreds of pharmacies, including the 35 in the southern state.

This included the Fred’s in DeKalb, Kemper County’s largest centre – leaving locals faced with the need to travel around 48km to either Meridian or Philadelphia if they need to pick up a script.

The News&Observer spoke to Ryan Harper, the president of Mississippi’s Pharmacy Board, who said that while currently three operators are considering opening a pharmacy in the area, this could take up to six months, due to licensing requirements.

In the meantime, poor and older people with difficulty accessing transport will be most affected.


Jakarta, Indonesia: A security guard has been killed after a car crashed into the Senopati Pharmacy in the Indonesian capital’s south, the Jakarta Post reports.

A university student allegedly lost control of her vehicle and fatally injured the man, Fahri Siregar from the Jakarta Traffic Police told the Post.

“The victim was badly injured in his abdomen. He died on the spot.”

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