World news wrapup: 9 August 2018

Ear lost in pharmacist stampede; no sentence cut for pharmacist who glassed former friend; conscientious objection taken to human rights court

Mulund, India: A young pharmacist lost an ear after he was involved in a stampede outside the Maharashtra State Pharmacy Council last week.

Aditya Singare was one of about 700 pharmacy graduates who queued with relatives outside the Council building for physical registration of their pharmacy degrees, the Times of India reports. Many had been concerned that they would not be able to do so via an online portal provided.

When it began to rain heavily the gates began to open, but the crowd pushed forward and several people were trampled. The gates were torn away from their railings and Mr Singare’s ear was torn away. Other people in the queue escaped with bruises.

Doctors reattached the ear and said Mr Singare will not suffer hearing loss as a result, though some reconstruction was necessary.


London, UK: A pharmacist has had an appeal knocked back against his sentence for glassing another man, the Chronicle Live reports.

Assad Mohammed told an London appeals court that he had been drunk when he attacked friend Ricki Walia, by smashing a glass across his face while on a night out at a bar in Newcastle.

The glass pierced Mr Walia’s eyeball and resulted in “some of the contents of the eyeball protruding”.

Mr Walia had 18 stitches in his eye, four of which are permanent, but he had previously told the Chronicle that the mental scars he suffered were worse than the physical, and that he rarely went out any more.

“I just keep thinking, ‘if this can happen once it can happen again’,” he said.

Mr Mohammed had been working as a pharmacist in Newcastle at the time of the attack, for which he was jailed for two years. He asked the court to cut back his sentence, claiming the punishment was too severe.

His counsel argued that the jailing had destroyed Mr Mohammed’s career as a pharmacist, and that Mr Walia had regained full use of his injured eye.

However Mrs Justice May dismissed the appeal, saying that Mr Mohammed’s sentence was instead “somewhat generous”.

“The injuries were undeniably serious, involving deep cuts to the face and piercing of the glass into the eye,” she said.

“It could have easily been much worse.”


Bordeaux, France: A pro-life former pharmacist has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights claiming that his freedom of conscience was violated when he was suspended in 2015 for refusing to sell an IUD.

The European Centre for Law and Justice reports that when a customer came to Bruno Pichon’s pharmacy to get the IUD which had been prescribed for her, an employee told her that the pharmacy did not stock such products due to the beliefs of the owner.

The owner, Bruno Pichon, explained his objections and directed her to fill the prescription at another pharmacy.

The woman referred the incident to the College of Pharmacists and subsequently the President of the Regional Council filed a complaint against Mr Pichon.

At a disciplinary hearing he was sanctioned and his licence to practise pharmacy suspended for a week, a decision Mr Pichon appealed. The appeal was rejected.

The Disciplinary Chamber of the National Council of the Order of Pharmacists ruled that pharmacists could not impose their moral judgements by invoking freedom of conscience and religion rights. Another appeal was ruled inadmissible.

Rather than sell IUDs and products such as emergency contraception, Mr Pichon left the profession and sold his pharmacy.

He has now taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that French and international precedent supports his case, aiming to establish a right to conscientious objection for other pharmacists.


UK: The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has given advice to community pharmacies about handling any unsolicited packages from a group called “The Cyrus Project”.

Chemist+Druggist reports that several health providers have been sent the packages alongside a request to test a sample.

England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies issued a “class one” medical alert as a result, warning health providers to be careful with the packages should they receive one.

She confirmed that initial testing has found that it is “highly unlikely” the contents are hazardous.

The PSNC told pharmacies that if they do receive a package, they should handle it with care, wearing nitrile gloves and quarantine it in a secure leak-proof container; wash their hands or any body part that comes into contact with the package; and alert authorities.

C+D also reports that two men were arrested on “suspicion of Malicious Communications Act offences, after packages containing liquid were sent to a number of hospitals across the UK”. They were later released on bail.

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