World news wrapup: 23 March 2017


British pound being cut with scissors

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

London: The legal challenge to the more than £320m funding cut to the community pharmacy budget in England has commenced, reports the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Two cases are being brought by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and National Pharmacy Association, being heard together.

The PSNC case is that the Secretary of State failed to carry out a lawful consultation on the proposals for community pharmacy, while the NPA’s case is focused on arguments that the Secretary of State failed to properly discharge his Public Sector Equality Duties and failed to appreciate community pharmacy’s wider healthcare role.

Representing PSNC, Alison Foster QC told the judge that “we are talking, without drama, of livelihoods being at stake.”

She highlighted the lack of time allowed for pharmacists to react and prepare for the cuts, which are expected to close at least 1000-3000 pharmacies across England.

The cuts were an “irreversible step towards complete reshaping of the sector without proper debate or analysis,” she said, and said there was “serious consultation unfairness and the process followed is unlawful”.

 

Niles, Ohio: The Eastern Ohio Pharmacist Association is asking the state board of pharmacies not to allow technicians to sign off on prescriptions, WKBN reports.

While this is already in place in other US states, the Ohio pharmacists are critical of the practice, saying it is a “further means of removing the pharmacist from this human interaction and putting it in the hands of two technicians”.

According to Ray Carlson of RC Compounding, only about five to 10% of pharmacies currently comply with rules around patient profiling and counselling.

“The laws and rules suggest there really needs to be some level of human interaction happening so the pharmacist can make these determinations,” Mr Carlson told WKBN.

 

Ogun, Nigeria: The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria has closed 373 premises including 15 illegal pharmacies, reports Channels TV.

According to Director of Inspection and Monitoring Anthonia Aruya, the closures took place to reduce risk and avoidable deaths caused by illegal practitioners.

The Council is committed to ensuring dispensing and distribution of medicines is undertaken in a safe, effective manner, Mrs Aruya said.

“What we observed in Ogun state is that so many premises commenced operations without fulfilling minimum requirement for registration while others failed to renew their license to operate such shops,” she told a press conference.

“Some of these premises store products in environments where the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical cannot be guaranteed.

“Others do not have requisite knowledge or know how to handle the highly ethical drugs in their facilities.”

The Council visited 435 premises, including 44 pharmacies and 391 patent medicine shops. Of these, 15 illegal pharmacies and 358 patent medicine stores were sealed for offences such as operating without registration from the Council, failure to renew licenses for the premises and dispensing ethical drugs without the supervision of a pharmacist.

 

Peshawar, Pakistan: Qualified pharmacists will need to be present in drugstores, under new rules being introduced by the local health department.

The changes are also intended to ensure manufacturers only supply medicines to stores which have been granted licences by the Department, and to ensure retailers are able to access quality medicines.

According to Department spokespeople this will also mean changes to signage, with pharmacies expected to display signboards in red with white writing.

The spokespeople said the Department hopes to combat the growth of illegal medical stores, with unqualified people running stores to be stopped from doing so and facing penalties if they continue.

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