World news wrapup: 25 June 2020

Chinese pharmacy chain head jailed over fake masks; Northern Irish pharmacist speaks out on racism; fluffy dog helps foil New York robbery

Beijing, China: The chair of a Beijing-based chain of pharmacies has been jailed for 15 years for selling counterfeit face masks, reports the South China Morning Post.

Li Dong, as well as two associates, identified as Li Yuzhang and Luo Hanyi, were found guilty on charges relating to the sale of fake masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Li bought more than 580,000 masks, which he advertised as being manufactured by 3M, and sold them through the Beijing Jinghai Kangbaixin Medicine Co pharmacy chain.

After the arrests in February, the chain issued a statement apologising for Mr Li’s conduct and offering patients compensation of three times the value of the purchased masks to anybody who had purchased them during a period in late January.

The three defendants claimed that they had believed the masks to be genuine, and had been fooled by a supplier who produced false quality certificates.

China made it a criminal offence to make or sell fake masks in February, and has reportedly seized more than 80 million of the products found to be fake or below acceptable quality.


Derry, Northern Ireland: A pharmacy representative group and a leading pharmacist have condemned the racist behaviour of patients at a Derry pharmacy who have shown prejudice towards a pharmacist who works there.

Nkele Mushapho told the BBC recently that since she moved to Northern Ireland from South Africa as a 10-year-old, she has endured racist abuse.

Ms Mushapho now has patients refuse to be served by her, she said.

“I went on to university and became a pharmacist and when I am at work and a patient would come and would say ‘I want to speak to the pharmacist’, then when I come out, they say they want to speak to an Irish pharmacist because as a black person they are making me feel like I’m not worthy to be able to help them,” she said.

“As a black person, I can’t possibly want to help them. This is what is said to me in 2020.”

Ms Mushapho said that people let her know that they feel she is “inferior and incompetent” because of the colour of her skin on a daily basis.

Northern Ireland’s chief pharmaceutical officer, Cathy Harrison, said she was shocked and that this behaviour by patients was “completely unacceptable”.

“Racism has no place in pharmacy in Northern Ireland or in any part of our health and social care service… it is completely unacceptable for anyone to face prejudice in the service of their community,” Ms Harrison told the Irish News.

“It’s particularly upsetting today in the context of Covid-19 because I know that every community pharmacist and every member of the pharmacy staff have moved mountains to support their communities and have been working tirelessly in the last few weeks and months.”

Pharmacy Forum NI chair Sheelin McKeagney told Derry Now that the Forum opposes all forms of abuse of pharmacy staff and stands with pharmacists who are abused.


Brooklyn, New York: A small fluffy white dog has joined the ranks of notable pharmacy animal encounters after it helped foil a robbery.

The New York Police Department tweeted asking the public for information to help them identify three males who tried to rob a pharmacy.

The NYPD released footage which shows three men, wearing masks, one of whom climbed over the pharmacy’s counter, in the pharmacy.

They “attempted to remove property” before being confronted by the pharmacy owner as well as the barking dog. The man who jumped the counter then scrambled back over it, falling to the ground and escaping empty-handed with his accomplices.


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