World news wrapup: 9 November 2017

Lynda Kelley with the offending testicles. Image: Facebook

Pharmacist faces charge of dad’s murder; testicle display slammed; UK woman facing possible death penalty over tramadol tablets

Guildford, Surrey: A pharmacist has faced Court on a murder charge after he allegedly poured morphine into his father’s fruit smoothie and then attempted to explain the death as assisted suicide.

The UK’s Telegraph reports that the Vaughan James Pharmacy in Farnham, where pharmacist Bipin Desai worked, ordered a 20mL bottle of concentrated morphine (Oramorph) on February 20, 2015. The morphine arrived the next day.

“Pharmacy records show the defendant was the responsible person on duty on February 20 when the bottle was ordered and was the responsible person when the bottle of Oramorph was delivered,” prosecutor William Boyce QC told the Court.

“This bottle is not something the pharmacy normally ordered, it’s very strong. All controlled drugs recorded at the pharmacy should be recorded in the controlled drug register.”

Mr Desai allegedly watched a football game on television on August 26, then gave his father the smoothie, kissed him goodnight and then injected him with insulin while his father was asleep.

The next day he prepared a breakfast for his father, an action Mr Boyce called a “façade,” went to work and upon his return that evening, purportedly discovered his father’s body.

Mr Boyce said that Mr Desai’s claims that his father was depressed and wanted to die were not supported by the evidence.

Mr Desai has admitted to assisting a suicide and two theft charges, but denies that he committed murder.


Hurghada, Egypt: A British woman is potentially facing the death penalty after bringing 290 tramadol tablets into Egypt.

Laura Plummer intended to bring tramadol and naproxen into the country to help alleviate her Egyptian husband’s back pain, her brother James Plummer told The Guardian.

Mr Plummer said that the “innocent, honest mistake” had come about after she told a colleague in the shop where she worked about her husband’s back pain. The colleague then gave her the prescription drugs.

“Laura didn’t even check what they were, she didn’t even know there was tramadol in the bag. There was also naproxen as well,” Mr Plummer said.

“Clearly, [she was] very, very naive.”

The Guardian reports that tramadol is the most abused drug in Egypt, and is often obtained illegally without prescription and then used as a substitute for heroin, “as it is elsewhere in the world”.

Ms Plummer has been told she could face up to 25 years in prison or the death penalty.


Plymouth, Devon: The Day Lewis Pharmacy group will “continue to offend” if it means raising awareness about life-threatening illness, its executive director says.

Manager Lynda Kelley at the Ivybridge, Plymouth branch decided to raise awareness of testicular cancer by displaying a pair of testicles on a red cushion in the front window, with a sign saying, “How well are you looking after your Crown Jewels?” The display is surrounded by smaller signs saying, “Keep calm and check your balls”.

This was too much for one member of the public, who complained about the display, the Mirror reports.

“I cried when I found out there had been a complaint,” said Ms Kelley, who had lost her mother to lung cancer and was keen to help prevent others from losing family members to cancer.

Now, Day Lewis executive director Jay Patel has taken to Facebook to thank consumers and other stakeholders for their support, as well as lend his own to Ms Kelley.

“We will continue to offend if it means these lifesaving messages are heard,” he wrote. “We are proud of the impact Lynda’s message has had so far…the health of our patients is our number one priority.”

The group has received feedback that the display has prompted at least one man to be tested.


Santa Fe, New Mexico: Walgreens and some of a pharmacy’s employees are being sued after a patient says he was given alprazolam instead of cyclobenzaprine at the Española Walgreens pharmacy.

Anthony Gonzales was prescribed the muscle relaxant after he was injured in a car accident in 2013. In November 2014, he went to the Española store to have his prescriptions for three drugs filled, but alprazolam was dispensed instead of cyclobenzaprine due to another Anthony Gonzales having been prescribed the drug.

Not suspecting anything out of the ordinary, Mr Gonzales took the alprazolam – and says he experienced side effects which led to a suicide attempt via gunshot.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Mr Gonzales is suing for an “unspecified amount of damages” which would cover his medical expenses after he shot himself in the head, plus lost wages, legal fees and other potential relief.

The lawsuit claims that a Walgreens employee “negligently and intentionally” dispensed the alprazolam, and that employees did not correctly label the pill container or verify that the patient was the correct Anthony Gonzales.

A spokesperson for Walgreens said that the company did not comment on pending litigation.

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