World News Wrapup: 10 January 2019

ED cream mistakenly prescribed for dry eye; pharmacy staff keep Irish Minister safe; cigarette sales banned in New York pharmacies

Glasgow, UK: A Glasgow woman suffered chemical injuries after being mistakenly prescribed erectile dysfunction cream for a dry eye, according to The Scotsman.

The anonymous patient had to be treated at A&E after mistakenly receiving Vitaros cream instead of ocular lubricant VitA-POS, a report on the case in the journal BMJ Case Reports said.

She was treated with antibiotics, lubricants and steroids for her blurred vision and lid swelling.

The error has led specialists from Glasgow’s Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology to call for doctors to take greater care issuing medication. One suggested remedy is the use of block capitals in handwritten prescriptions to avoid similar situations.

Study lead author Dr Magdalena Edington wrote in the December 2018 BMJ report: “Prescribing errors are common, and medications with similar names/packaging increase risk.

“However, it is unusual in this case that no individual (including the patient, general practitioner or dispensing pharmacist) questioned erectile dysfunction cream being prescribed to a female patient, with ocular application instructions.

“The patient was treated for a mild ocular chemical injury with topical antibiotics, steroids and lubricants, with good response. However, we believe this to be an important issue to report to enhance awareness and promote safe prescribing skills.”

Although the patient recovered from the chemical injury within a few days, she continued to suffer from recurrent corneal erosions.


Dublin, Ireland: The Irish Minister for Culture has paid tribute to the bravery and quick thinking of pharmacy staff who sheltered her and other customers during a robbery.

Josepha Madigan was in the Dublin suburb of Stillorgan when men armed with a knife and a hatchet stormed a grocery store, threatening staff with weapons and getting away with cash.

The Minister, along with other terrified locals, were given refuge in a nearby pharmacy who closed their shutters until gardai (Irish police) came and made arrests.

The men were taken in while the cash was recovered by gardai who dramatically intercepted a vehicle as it left the car park.

A hammer and an axe were also recovered from the car.

Speaking about the incident the Minister said to the Irish Independent: “Many thanks to the local pharmacy who locked its doors and kept me and some other scared people safe.

“It was quite scary in real time. At least someone was caught and no one injured.”

The arrested men, two in their 30s and one in his 40s, are currently being held by gardai in Dundrum.


New York, US: Cigarettes and other tobacco products are off the shelves of New York City pharmacies from the 1 January 2019.

The Wall Street Journal reports the ban also includes businesses that contain pharmacies, such as supermarkets and big-box stores.

The city’s health department says the change will affect about 500 pharmacies currently selling tobacco products.

The new rules follow a ban on electronic cigarette sales at pharmacies that took effect in late August.

The owner of the St. George Pharmacy on Staten Island says cigarette sales had drawn customers who ended up making other purchases. Al Gentile says the government shouldn’t ban certain stores from selling tobacco products that can be purchased elsewhere.

But a deputy health commissioner, Sonia Angell, says it’s important for pharmacies to promote health.

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