World news wrapup: 6 August 2020

Pharmacy slammed by dog attack victim; UK pharmacists face racism; remdesivir ring caught

Snodland, England: A pharmacy in Kent has come under fire after a patient with a facial injury attempted to buy painkillers there without wearing a face covering.

According to the Daily Mail, Shereen Mawson was bitten on the face by a friend’s dog and was recovering from surgery to have her nose reattached when she went to the Catts Pharmacy in Snodland.

Ms Mawson said that she was shouted at for not wearing a face mask (as part of restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19) and ultimately had a panic attack outside the pharmacy when she was refused entry, and then refused service when she attempted to pay via card.

She said that while she would prefer to be able to wear a mask, covering her injured nose with could put her at risk of further damaging it and tearing her “so visible” stitches.

She was eventually served by another pharmacy which was able to supply her with painkillers.

A spokesperson for Paydens, which runs the pharmacy said that all patients who cannot wear a mask, whether or not they have an exemption, should be politely asked to wait outside the premises.

“Our initial investigations into the complaint so far have highlighted a difference in the way this event has been reported and the pharmacy refute any claims that they were rude to the patient,” the spokesperson said.


UK: Almost two-thirds of pharmacy staff (64%) have had to endure racism from their patients in the last six months, according to a Chemist + Druggist survey.

The survey, which ran in late June, found that for black, Asian and minority ethnic pharmacy workers, the percentage increased to 73%, rising again to 76% for respondents from an Indian background, and 78% for respondents from an African background.

Three-quarters of the black, Asian and minority ethnic pharmacy workers said the abuse had been verbal, rising to 80% for workers with an Indian background – up from 66% of survey respondents overall, and 47% for participants who said they were white.

Workers reported being told to “go back to Africa,” receiving threats of physical violence and refusal to be served by a person of their ethnicity or background.

Some said patients refused to believe they were the pharmacist or manager, and asked to speak to a white worker instead.

One respondent said a patient had said they had a “terrorist name;” another was called a “white bastard” and another said they had been sworn at and told to go back to their own country.

Religious abuse was most likely to be experienced by those who identified as Muslim.


Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio Board of Pharmacy made a decision last week to ban pharmacies and other providers from dispensing hydroxychloroquine – but after “feedback” from Ohio’s state Governor, has backed down. reports that Governor Mike DeWine issued a statement on Thursday, the day the new rule was intended to take effect, to Ohio’s Pharmacy Board asking it to stop the change so that expert evidence and further feedback could be reviewed.

“I agree with the statement from Dr. Steven Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, that the decision about prescribing hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 should be between a doctor and a patient,” Mr DeWine said.

“The Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio should revisit the issue, listen to the best medical science, and open the process up for comment and testimony from experts.”

Mr DeWine said that his feedback was based on an opinion that the Board should have gone through the usual channels when making change, and was not due to a position on the use of the drug in COVID-19.


Delhi, India: Several pharmacists have been arrested for the illegal supply of remdesivir to five people who are allegedly part of an international drug racket, reports the Times of India.

The Times reports that initially three pharmacists from Delhi and one from Gurugram were arrested, followed now by two more Delhi pharmacists.

It is alleged that four Iraqi nationals and one woman from Uzbekistan were arrested in late July, accused of smuggling drugs out of the country.

It is now alleged that the distributors would sell it to Pradeep Kumar, who ran the Medigreen Pharmacy in front of a hospital, who would then sell it to the foreign nationals for internatonal distribution.

Currently remdesivir is only permitted to be supplied to designated COVID-19 hospitals in India.

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