World News Wrapup: 27 October 2016

gavel and scales of justice

We take a look at pharmacy news around the world

Ontario, Canada: A Canadian family has launched a petition to urge Ontario’s Health Minister to make medication error reporting mandatory, after an eight-year-old boy died of an overdose of Baclofen.

Melissa Sheldrick told CBCnews’ Go Public that she gave her son, Andrew, what she believed to be his usual dose of tryptophan – used to treat his REM sleep disorder – before bed as usual in March this year; when his father went to wake the boy the next day, he found Andrew dead.

A coroner found that Andrew had been given not tryptophan, but a dose of Baclofen almost three times strong enough to be toxic to an adult. The coroner concluded that an independent compounding pharmacy in Misssissauga had made an error, substituting one medication for the other.

Andrew died after only one dose of the incorrect medication.

The family has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Floradale Medical Pharmacy Ltd and its owner and manager, Amit Shah; the lawsuit also names an unidentified worker who compounded the medicine.

Sheldrick has begun a petition to make it mandatory to report errors to a formal body.

“To me it’s a form of negligence that is being overlooked in the pharmacies and nobody is holding them accountable or responsible, and that’s unacceptable,” Sheldrick told Go Public.

“The rest of our country has no idea about how many pharmacist errors are being made in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year, and there are many… I think that when there is transparency, training can happen, review of policy and procedures can happen, intervention that can happen.”


Canada: Canada’s largest drug store chain has applied to the government to dispense marijuana to patients, CBC news reports.

“We have applied to be a licensed producer strictly for the purposes of distributing medical marijuana,” Shoppers Drug Mart spokesperson Tammy Smitham told the news outlet in an email this week.

“We have no intention of producing medical marijuana, but we do want the ability to dispense medical marijuana to our patients in conjunction with counselling from a pharmacist.”

Shoppers Drug Mart has more than 1,200 outlets across Canada.


UK: Pharmacy owners in the UK have been given a reminder that regardless of the pressures they face from upcoming funding cuts to the sector, they need to discharge their responsibilities to patients.

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, told pharmacy owners that:

“Pharmacy owners in England will be considering how to manage the impact of the expected cuts to the funding they receive. Whatever the final detail, we want to remind them that they must make sure that:

  • there are enough staff, suitably qualified and skilled, for the safe and effective provision of the pharmacy services provided
  • pharmacy governance arrangements safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public and
  • the safety and quality of pharmacy services are kept under review
  • staff are empowered to provide feedback and raise concerns about meeting these standards and other aspects of pharmacy services.

“These requirements are set out in our Standards for Registered Pharmacies, along with a number of other relevant and equally important matters.”


Louisiana, US: A DEA Task Force and local police have arrested three men who were allegedly involved in four pharmacy burglaries during which a sledgehammer was used to break in.

A disguised burglar allegedly used the sledgehammer to break through the first pharmacy’s brick wall, after which he crawled to a cabinet to take prescription medicines, Pharmacy Times reports.

Not long afterwards, two or more people pulled metal off another building in order to steal from a second pharmacy; this was followed by another sledgehammer break-in at the County Discount Pharmacy in Wiggins.

The men were caught after their fourth burglary, during which one man was caught with a plastic bag of stolen prescription drugs.

The drugs involved included oxycodone, hydrocodone, tapentadol, methadone and dextroamphetamine.

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