World news wrapup: 20 April 2017

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Ludhiana, India: A pharmacist will face legal action after he left his pharmacy, and left his 15-year-old son in charge administering injections and prescribing medicines to patients.

The Hindustan Times reports that a health department team raided the clinic in Ludhiana after a resident complained. When the team arrived at the premises, they found the 15-year-old advising two patients, who had with them a list of 11 medicines.

When asked to produce his qualifications, the boy was not able to do so. He told the team that his father, the clinic’s owner, was unwell in hospital. The father will now face charges under the Drug and Cosmetic Act 1940.


San Diego, California: Pharmacist Thomas Francis Burke has been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after he shot and killed his flatmate’s boyfriend.

Mr Burke said during his trial that he shot Jess Robles in self-defence, 10news reports, claiming that he “saw rage” in the man’s eyes and thought he was going to be tackled by him.

His flatmate, Larae Clark, said that Mr Burke had met Mr Robles about six weeks before the shooting and that he disliked her boyfriend from the moment they met.

Mr Burke now faces between six and 21 years in prison.


Las Vegas, Nevada: The first public needle vending machine for drug users in the US has opened in Las Vegas, in a first-time experiment conducted by the Southern Nevada Health District, the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society, and Trac-B Exchange.

“Having access to clean syringes is a harm-reduction approach that’s going to allow people to protect themselves against getting communicable diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C,” Chelsi Cheatom, program manager for Trac-B Exchange (which developed the machine) says.

Located in private offices within community centres, the machines will dispense cardboard boxes containing clean syringes and disposal containers for used needles, as well as wound cleaning and safe sex kits.

They are intended to offer intravenous drug users a discreet, low-pressure way to reduce risks associated with their drug use and reduce stigma.

The local health district says that about 10% of new HIV cases in the area are due to the use of injected drugs.


UK: The nearly 500 pharmacists working in GP practices as part of a pilot program will be joined by 800 more by 2019, and a further 700 in the two years following, the Pharmaceutical Journal reports.

To date, 491 pharmacists have been involved in the pilot that is set to roll out across the nation.

NHS England has announced the 45 successful bidders for the first stage of the national rollout; 219 pharmacists will work across 700 practices as part of this first stage. The successful bidders were primarily groups of practices or GP federations.

Robbie Turner, director for England at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, says the fact that GP practices outside the program are already hiring their own pharmacists shows the value GPs place on such pharmacists.

“We have seen fantastic stories of how this new role for pharmacists has really improved patient care and that gives us great confidence that there is long-term sustainability for these roles,” he says.

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