World news wrapup: 19 May 2016

marijuana bud

Our weekly wrapup of pharmacy news from around the world

New York, New York: The customer experience in pharmacy is “broken,” the co-creator of a new, digital only pharmacy has told Fortune.

Investor Eric Kinariwala and pharmacist Sonia Patel have created Capsule, which describes itself as “a pharmacy you’ll never have to visit but might want to”.

“The consumer experience is broken,” Kinariwala said.

“Going to the pharmacy is a half step from going to the post office. The average consumer waits for an hour; people have to go back because their medicine is out of stock; they don’t understand the medicines because of dense leaflets.”

Patel, meanwhile, told Fortune that the pair “realised how disconnected the pharmacy is from the rest of the health care system”.

Capsule works via a smartphone app which connects directly to doctors and delivers medicines via messenger, within two hours or within a selected time window.

Pharmacists are available to advise on medicines on demand.

“Pharmacists love this, as well, because it can encourage more effective therapy changes, which ultimately leads to better health,” Patel says.


UK: The average pharmacy in England could lose £19,000 over 10 months, Chemist + Druggist reports, as a result of funding cuts and a plan to reduce certain payments.

C+D reports that pharmacy accountant Umesh Modi predicts small, independent pharmacies will be most affected.

He suggested that pharmacists try to prepare themselves for these losses by focusing on services, including attempting to reach quotas for Medicines Use Reviews (capped at 400 per year per pharmacy).

The Boots chain has been in hot water recently following allegations that its management was pressuring pharmacists to use the MUR cap as a target, to increase revenue.


Canada: Many Canadian hospital pharmacists feel that medical marijuana is safe and effective, but few consider themselves knowledgeable about the subject, the Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy reports.

An online survey was made available in early 2015 to licensed hospital pharmacists in Canada through individual provincial and territorial pharmacy regulatory bodies, pharmacist associations, hospital pharmacy directors, the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, and the Association des pharmaciens des établissements de santé du Québec.

The analysis showed that 44.6% agreed that marijuana is safe, and 55.2% agreed that it is effective.

But only 17.2% agreed that they were knowledgeable about marijuana for medical purposes, and about 65% of respondents reported no formal training in this area.


Ocala, Florida: the US Food and Drug Administration has closed the operations of a major Florida compounding pharmacy because its drugs contained “filthy, putrid or decomposed substances”.

According to the FDA drugs manufactured by the compounder were considered “adulterated” under the FD&C Act as “they contained filthy, putrid, or decomposed substances; were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions; and fell below the quality and/or purity standards they purported to possess”.

Violations found by the FDA included “the presence of dead spiders, beetles, ants, wasps and cockroaches in the ceiling panel directly above the area where employees prepare for sterile processing; lack of sufficient physical barriers to prevent the introduction of contamination from nearby construction into the clean room; and failure to adequately clean and sanitize sterile compounding areas”.

In 2012, ophthalmic medicines compounded by the pharmacy, Franck’s Compounding Lab, caused eye infections leading to vision loss.

And in 2009 21 ponies died after receiving a drug product compounded by Franck’s Compounding Lab that contained 100 times the amount of selenium that should have been administered.


Gilbert, Arizona: A man accused of robbery allegedly ran away from an Arizona pharmacy with narcotics and then started to swallow the pills when confronted by police, Pharmacy Times reports.

Hunter James Dolan entered an Albertson’s pharmacy in April with a gun, according to police.

When Dolan allegedly demanded prescription narcotics, pharmacy employees recognised him as a regular customer. They helped police by giving them his photograph and more information about him, according to ABC15.

When police found Dolan in his car not far from the pharmacy, he began to swallow the pills, police told ABC15. He was removed from the car and medical personnel began treating him for the pill ingestion.

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1 Comment

  1. Ray Foster

    The pharmacy in Ocala was sold about 4 years ago and the site remains OPEN. The FDA action was against the ex-owner, likely to prevent his return to the pharmacy business, and represents a delayed response to issues from the past.

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