World news wrapup: 5 December 2019

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Oregon woman trashes pharmacy, causes $146k damage; pharmacy sued after revealing woman’s transgender and HIV status; NZ tardy on pharmacist measles vaccination

Portland, Oregon: A woman caused an estimated USD$100,000 (AUD$146,229) damage to a Target pharmacy when she attacked the fittings with a metal pole, reports the Daily Mail.

Video footage of the attack went viral on Reddit, after Ashley Daniel entered the dispensary of the pharmacy and began to bash at shelves with the stick.

She reportedly destroyed nearly all the medicines, shelves and other supplies before she was arrested.

The footage shows one staff member contacting law enforcement and asking for help, while a pharmacist jumps over the dispensary counter to safety. Ms Daniel then twirls the pole as if looking for her next target.

Ms Daniel, who has reportedly been homeless for five years, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, burglary and disorderly conduct.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A woman identified only as Jane Doe is suing her local pharmacy for a privacy breach which alerted her neighbours to her HIV and transgender status.

The Advocate reports that Ms Doe had, for some time, received her gender transition and HIV treatment medicines via post, and that they had been delivered in a brown paper bag which did not state the contents or the sender.

As a result Ms Doe gave permission for the pharmacy in question, SunRay Drugs, to leave her medicines in the communal mailroom of the building where she lives.

However in November 2018 the medicines were delivered in packaging which clearly listed her name and the names of the medicines.

She alleges that since this happened, her neighbours have become unfriendly and that she has overheard conversations about the “drag queen with AIDS” in the communal laundry area, causing her to only use this room late at night, and to avoid her neighbours.

A spokesperson for SunRay said that “steps had been taken to assure the medication packages would be delivered in a manner that did not expose the contents”.

Ms Doe is suing the pharmacy for compensation for emotional distress, and for an admission that it violated state privacy laws.


New Zealand: The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand has expressed concern that only eight out of the country’s 20 District Health Boards are in the process of contracting pharmacists to deliver measles vaccines to people aged 16 to 49.

Following the 30 October announcement that the DHBs are now able to do so, more than half have not moved on the issue.

“There is still no catch-up program,” said PSNZ president Ian McMichael.

“This is now urgent! Every DHB should have a measles action plan and be extending access to measles vaccinations in their area.

“With around 1000 pharmacists trained to give vaccines, and more in training, it makes sense to use pharmacies as part of the solution in vaccination campaigns.

“2020 is only a few months away and everybody in New Zealand want to avoid another outbreak. To do so we must ensure all our population is immunised.”

He highlighted the fact that New Zealand has large “pockets” of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people, and that most of the measles cases this year have been in the 20 to 29 year old age group.

The “unprecedented” cluster of measles cases in Perth earlier this year was attributed to a traveller who brought the disease from New Zealand.

“Being able to get the measles vaccine from your local pharmacy would mean people can go and get it on a Saturday morning when it’s convenient for them,” Mr McMichael said.

“There is a robust, proven set of procedures which pharmacist vaccinators follow when providing vaccinations to the public and they are trained the same as other health professionals to carry out vaccination services.”


London, England: The head of the Company Chemists’ Association has warned that the current funding for the community pharmacy sector will not be enough to sustain it, reports Chemist + Druggist.

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the CCA, has told a Westminster Health Forum event in London that pharmacy is already being squeezed and that NHS England needs to move to ensure that this does not impact the “quality and safety of care for patients”.

“Many of the issues that affect our ability to support the delivery of local services lie at a national level, including funding, workforce and legislative and regulatory reform,” Mr Harrison said.

“We call upon NHS England to use our operational experience and expertise to ensure…uniformity across the whole country.”

He warned that the continued reduced funding for community pharmacy is “part of a continual drive by the government to get more for less, or more for the same” and that in real time, funding had effectively been slashed by a quarter between 2014 and 2024.

“All this cutting, moving and ring-fencing means there’s very little capacity left in the network,” Mr Harrison warned.

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