World news wrapup: 16 February 2017

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Nottingham, UK: A nine-year-old girl was mistakenly given methadone at her local pharmacy after she was prescribed antibiotics.

Mother Donna Buckley gave her daughter, Ruby Bell, one dose of the medication, but after Ruby became drowsy, decided not to give her a second dose later in the day. Not long afterwards, the pharmacist visited their home and asked whether Ms Buckley could produce the medicine dispensed at the Manor Pharmacy.

“I said to the pharmacist, ‘what was the medicine that I’ve given her, because I’ve given her two spoons of the medicine and she’s been really sleepy all day?’” Ms Buckley told ITV.

“He said, ‘it’s fine, there’s just been a bit of a mistake. Come and have a private chat with me tomorrow’.”

Ms Buckley pressed the issue, and the pharmacist returned and told her that her daughter had been given methadone, after which Ruby’s parents took her to the local hospital. She has made a full recovery.

“The worst thing was the doctors saying to me that if I’d have given her those next two spoonfuls it would be completely different,” Ms Buckley said. “Basically I could have lost her.”

The pharmacy has apologised and said it will take steps to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. Police are continuing to make enquiries.


London, UK: British PM Theresa May has told the country’s beleaguered pharmacy sector that the funding cuts to the sector will make it “modern and efficient”.

In a message to the Sigma Retail Pharmacy Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Ms May said that she wants to see a thriving community pharmacy service, “and the Government is committed to achieving this”.

“Our package of reforms in England are designed to ensure we have a modern and efficient community pharmacy sector, properly integrated into primary care and public health, offering better patient choice and easier access”.

Ms May’s own local pharmacy stands to lose up to £20,000 a year under the cuts to the sector.


Punjab, Pakistan: Pharmacies in cities across the Punjab region have closed as pharmacists, shop owners and wholesalers took to the streets to protest an amendment to Pakistan’s Drug Act.

While the protesters staged sit-ins and rallies, patients and carers have had significant difficulties in accessing medicines, according to The Nation.

The protesters have vowed that they will continue to strike until the “illegal ordinance,” which is aimed at tackling the problem of counterfeit medicines, is withdrawn.

Chemist Association District President Ch Shahid Hassan told The Nation that the change to the Drug Act is tantamount to financial murder for Pakistani chemists. He said that the issuing of drug licences and renewals has ceased and will now take place only in Lahore, with fines and prison sentences to be imposed upon those who continue to practice without a licence.

Image: a shuttered pharmacy in the region. Courtesy Pakistan Today.


Drimoleague, Ireland: A pharmacist has pleaded guilty to a €70,000-plus fraud, reports the Irish Examiner.

Christine Crowley, from West Cork, pleaded guilty to each of 20 sample counts from an indictment including 174 counts of fraud totalling at least €70,000.

A significant number of the fraud counts alleged that Ms Crowley, during a monthly period while employed at Kerr’s Pharmacy in Dunmanway, induced a health services official to pay a sum which was a fraudulent representation of a drug payment scheme or long-term illness scheme monthly claim.

She also faced charges of falsifying patient records relating to dispensed medication.

Ireland’s Health Services have recovered the money.

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