World news wrapup: 9 July 2020

Chemist Warehouse expands to NZ South Island; US pharmacy fined for price-gouging; Scottish patients required to wear masks in pharmacy

Christchurch, New Zealand: Chemist Warehouse has now expanded to New Zealand’s South Island, opening a new store at Christchurch’s South City shopping centre.

The Australian discount giant now has 12 stores in the North Island, in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, and has plans to open up to 10 more, said managing director of Chemist Warehouse Azman Haroon.

“We identified South City as the ideal location for our first store in the South Island – it’s strategically positioned to cater to a wide catchment of residents and city workers with increasing numbers of people relocating to the central city,” Mr Haroon said.

“The secret to our success is the combination of the finest possible customer service paired with competitive pricing and quality products. We take great pride in being innovative, competitive and responsive to the changing needs and challenges of our marketplace.

“Chemist Warehouse has been very well received in New Zealand and we are very excited to be opening our first store in the beautiful city of Christchurch.”


Scotland, UK: The general public will now be required to wear face masks when in retail settings including pharmacy, reports Pharmacy Biz.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement to reporters at a COVID-19 briefing and said that the move would be part of Phase Three restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces, avoid crowded areas, clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly and thoroughly, two metre distancing remains in place, self-isolate, and book a test immediately, if you have symptoms of Covid-19,” she said.

The move to require face coverings in retail follows the successful introduction of mandatory face coverings on public transport.


Paoli, Pennsylvania: A pharmacy has agreed to pay fines of US$5,300 (AUD$7,640) after it faced a civil court over alleged price gouging.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro told reporters that the Paoli Pharmacy in Chester County had sold 100 N95 masks individually for US$25 each (AUD$36).

While he did not tell reporters what a fair price would have been, he did say that the pharmacy would have been making more than the US$1 (AUD$1.44) profit permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We won’t tolerate illegal price gouging during this emergency, and we’re taking action every day to stop it — here in Chester County and across Pennsylvania,” Mr Shapiro said, reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He said residents of the state should be able to expect to “purchase life-saving goods at reasonable prices whether in store or online”.


Bengaluru, India: The Times of India reports that 110 pharmacies in Karnataka have had their licenses suspended for failing to comply with a Government directive, which requires pharmacists and pharmacy workers to notify the Government when patients buy cough and cold treatments.

The requirement was introduced earlier this year as part of the Karnataka state government’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Pharmacists and druggists are now expected to record the purchaser’s names and contact details in a Government portal when they buy treatments for symptoms which could be related to COVID-19.

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