World news wrapup: 6 October 2016


Target bottles

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Munich, Germany: A German pharmacy got more from its promotional advertising monitors than it bargained for when the monitors were apparently hacked.

Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that the monitors, which normally promote medicines available at the pharmacy, began to screen an adult film late last Wednesday night.

Police noticed large crowds gathering around the pharmacy and investigated. The impromptu screening was finally shut down after over two hours, at around 1.30am.

The surprised pharmacy owner assured police that the screening was not a ploy to attract Oktoberfest crowds.

Police are currently investigating and believe a hacker is responsible for the screening, which resulted in pharmacy services being limited the next day while IT maintenance was conducted.

 

US: Target pharmacy customers are distraught at CVS Pharmacy’s decision to change Target’s iconic red prescription bottles, the Associated Press reports – to the point where some have stockpiled old bottles for re-use.

The Target bottles came with colour-coded rings, labelling on their top and easy-to-read prescription information, but when CVS began to operate Target drugstores this year, the bottles were changed.

Vivian Ruth Sawyer, from Kentucky, told AP that she had gone through her rubbish to find old Target bottles after she discovered that Target had changed to common amber, white-capped bottles after her script was filled. She has since been reusing the old red bottles for her thyroid medicine, despite their having the wrong expiry dates.

She says this makes it easier for her to tell her prescriptions apart.

A retail analyst told AP that the new bottles may have encouraged Target patients to shop elsewhere.

CVS says it is designing a new system for dispensing and medicines adherence, but would not comment on whether that included changes to the bottle design.

Image: Healthandcommunications.com

 

US: A pharmacist and economist has taken a look at the potential implications of the Walgreens acquisition of Rite Aid – which he says could be finalised by the end of this year – and found that up to 3000 Walgreens and Rite Aid pharmacists stand to lose their jobs as part of the divestment process.

Austin Hewlett wrote in Pharmacy Times that divestitures are most likely in cities where Rite Aid market share is highest relative to CVS and Walgreens – such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, LA and some parts of New York.

“Assuming each location employs between two and four pharmacists full-time, up to 3000 Rite Aid and Walgreens pharmacists may lose their jobs as a result of the acquisition,” Hewlett writes.

“I argue that more Rite Aid stores will be divested, since Walgreens stores are more profitable (net income per retail location is much higher per Walgreens store, and Rite Aid has a greater percentage of pharmacy sales than Walgreens; pharmacy sales are usually lower margin than nonpharmacy sales).

“Its implications in terms of pharmacist employment, store divestitures, and retail pharmacy competition are highly uncertain.

“I’m excited for Walgreens and Rite Aid patients and stakeholders, but cautious about the technicians and pharmacists staffing to-be-divested stores, as it’s unclear where they’ll ultimately end up.”

 

Bathinda, India: Pharmacists and other pharmacy workers are boycotting their duties and have staged a protest to demand the regularisation of pharmacy services, the Tribune India reports.

The protest, in front of the Zila Parishad office, included members of the Rural Health Pharmacists United Front, Punjab, and Class IV employees.

Three panel meetings with regulators have to date failed to move ahead the process of regulating the sector.

Rural Health Pharmacists United Front member Navdeep Kumar told the Tribune that a 2006 Government move to give doctors Rs30,000 per month to recruit pharmacists, while pharmacists are paid Rs2,500 a month, was an exploitation of employees.

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