World news wrapup: 18 June 2020

Funeral lily

Another UK pharmacist lost to COVID; teenager creates naloxone auto-injector; fake degrees appeal dismissed

Dagenham, England: The UK has lost another pharmacist to COVID-19, Navin Shantilal Talati, who was the founder of Talati Chemist in Dagenham, Essex.

Mr Talati, 80, had been named Essex Pharmacist of the Year in 1987 and 1991, the Pharmaceutical Journal reports.

According to Mr Talati’s son Minesh, his father had redesigned the blister packs used in residential aged care in the 1980s, thus reducing errors.

Paul Bennett, chief executive of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society – of which Mr Talati had been a member for 46 years – said that “Navin Talati spent his career supporting members of the public and his patients”.

“His loss is not only a tragedy for his family, friends and colleagues, but also for all the patients he helped during his career.”

The Journal also reports that Jermaine Wright, a senior pharmacy technician at Hammersmith Hospital in London, had also died from COVID-19.

Chief Pharmacist at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Ann Mounsey said in a statement that Mr Wright had “Helped save countless lives”.


Bahamas: Thirteen pharmacists who had obtained their degree from an unaccredited institution have failed in their bid to have their licenses renewed.

Between 2006 and 2011, the 13 had received bachelor’s degrees in pharmacy from the McHari Institute, and all but one later acquired a master’s degree in clinical pharmacy there.

However, after the Bahamas Pharmacy Council took oversight of pharmacy and pharmacy technician registration in the Bahamas in 2009, it investigated the McHari Institute’s credentials and declared that it was “not an accredited institution for the purposes of licensing professionals under the Pharmacy Act,” reports Farrah Johnson for The Tribune.

At a 2017 meeting the Council decided the graduates would have to have their degrees assessed to determine whether they were equivalent to those from an accredited institution, and the degree-holders would be granted provisional licenses.

They appealed on the grounds that there had been an error in 2010 in declaring that McHari was not an accredited university.

This appeal has now been dismissed, with justices noting that, “The duty of the (Pharmacy) Council is to register persons who meet the educational requirements. The failure of registered pharmacists to meet these competencies and educational requirements may expose the public to a reduction in quality pharmacy care and increase the possibility of medication errors.”


Alert Bay, British Columbia: Devising a self-administering naloxone injection has seen Alert Bay teenager Lyra Fletcher make the finals of a Youth Innovation Showcase.

Victoria News writes that Ms Fletcher created an injector which is designed to be worn on the user’s upper arm.

Her research had shown that two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths occur when the person is alone, which makes it impossible for the current naloxone formats – injection and nasal spray – to be administered.

Ms Fletcher’s design measure oxygen saturation levels and would trigger an injection if the saturation dropped to 90% or lower, alongside text and voice alerts. The device did not win the 12 to 15-year-old category.

Ms Fletcher said that she was concerned about the rise in opioid-related deaths, which she had been aware of through local community channels and because her father is the area’s pharmacist.

He had explained the naloxone administration process to her, which made her concerned that people could not use it to help themselves if they were alone.

British Columbia recently recorded its highest number of fatal overdoses, with 170 deaths in a month.


Islamabad, Pakistan: Pharmacists are concerned that authorities are readying for a 50% jump in the price of medicines, reports The News.

Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association general secretary Dr Furqan Ibrahim has written to the chief justice saying that the potential price increase would not address current issues with the price of listed medicines, which is causing difficulty for patients.

Mr Ibrahim was concerned that a current drug shortage could have been manufactured as a way to drum up support for a price increase.

He said that around 20,000 non-essential medicines, including herbal medicines and cosmetics, are currently being sold without fixed prices, meaning they are selling at prices up to 50 times higher than registered products. This lack of regulation also applied to medicines and devices imported from India, he said.

The PYPA is calling for the price increase to be blocked and drug prices reduced to 2013 levels, as well as the immediate seizure of imported medicines.

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  1. pagophilus

    Doing a great job deterring people from injecting drugs (NOT)! So you can just wear the naloxone injector all the time, on the off chance you may use drugs. This will just encourage more drug use. And designed by a teenager! … Why not look for ways to reduce opioid use?

    (And is dosing naloxone on the basis of oxygen saturation alone, by an automatic device, in the absence of other indicators good clinical practice?)

    I know, I will get jumped on by the bleeding hearts.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      You dont see any other use for naloxone?

      2 out of every 3 deaths from opioid toxicity in Australia is caused by pharmaceutical opioids prescribes to that person.

      • pagophilus

        I don’t think naloxone is being marketed to the prescribed opioid demographic, rather to recreational users. At least the role of inappropriate marketing/promotion (by Purdue and it’s related companies such as Mundipharma) leading to inappropriate prescribing is finally being recognised and dealt with, beginning with lower PBS quantities, restrictions and streamline authority codes (not that that is much of a hurdle to overcome).

        • Jarrod McMaugh

          Well, im involved in a study at the moment that looks at exactly that – increasing acces to naloxone for people who are prescribed opioids, including how it is marketed.

          Harms from opioids occur for various reasons; not only through recreational use; not only from inapropriate prescribing.

          Everyone consuming opioids above 50mg morphine eqs has a risk of toxicity.

          Regardless, access to naloxone should be encouraged wherever anyone is consuming opioids

    • Dr Evan Ackermann

      Whether the proposed autoinjector would “deter or encourage” injecting drugs is almost a non-argument. Its a proposed safety device for people who do use opioids.
      This, like all safety devices, is in conjunction with opioid reduction strategies – not a replacement.
      The question of basing on oxygen saturations alone is a good question. Normally an oxygen saturation lower than 90% demands action, and in the context of an opioid user – injection of naloxone after a warning message would be appropriate intervention. However O2 sats depend on perfusion too, so the reading goes down in some situations eg cold limbs. So a trial would be advisable.

      • pagophilus

        Whether it deters or encourages use may not be a medical question but it is definitely a policy question that should be asked before approval is granted.

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