World news wrapup: 3 August 2017


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New York pharmacist orders patient to strip; EC for a fiver in Liverpool; unlicensed man sells banned drugs at pharmacy

Niagara Falls, New York: An 81-year-old pharmacist is facing second-degree coercion charges after he allegedly told a customer he would not fill a script until she removed her clothes.

According to Spectrum News Buffalo, police allege that Robert Kenzia, working at MacLeod’s Pharmacy, also threatened the woman that he would tell other pharmacies not to fill her script if she did not do as he told her.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency is now auditing the pharmacy to determine whether any other illegal activity has taken place at the pharmacy, as police are also concerned that there may be other victims.

 

Skelmersdale, UK: In the wake of controversy over the Boots chain’s decision not to reduce the price of levonorgestrel emergency contraception – and its subsequent back-down – a Liverpool pharmacy has slashed the price of its generic version to £4.99 (AUD$8.30).

Boots was charging £28.25 (AUD$46.90) for Levonelle emergency contraceptive and £26.75 for its own generic version; Tesco dropped its price to £13.50 (AUD$22.40) for Levonelle and Superdrug to £13.49 for a generic version.

Chemist 4 U, an online pharmacy based at the East Gillibrands Industrial Estate, is now charging £4.99 for levonorgestrel, with delivery at £1.99, with the aim of encouraging women to stock up on the product rather than waiting until they are in an emergency situation.

“Emergency contraceptive pills are not expensive products in and of themselves, yet the mark-up applied by some pharmacists is fierce and wholly detrimental to the consumer who needs it,” Chemist 4 U director Shamir Patel told the Liverpool Echo.

“I want to make healthcare affordable, rather than sticking with a £20 profit margin.

“An advanced supply avoids the panic in the unlikely event of barrier method failure. We advise all patients that EHC should not be used as a regular contraceptive method.”

 

Ireland: The Irish Pharmacy Union has submitted a proposal to the Minister for Health that people who hold medical cards be granted access to NRT without prescription.

“The evidence suggests that medical card holders are likely to need support to successfully quit smoking,” says Daragh Connolly, IPU President and community pharmacist.

“This is a scheme that can be easily and quickly implemented as from a professional perspective, no further training for pharmacists is required. Pharmacists have been safely providing a smoking cessation service to private patients since 2014,” he added.

“The IPU believes that there should not be barriers on GMS [general medical services] patients accessing smoking cessation services or any other service from their pharmacist. Therefore, we particularly advocate for the roll-out of this service as an after-hours service, as these are times of particular vulnerability for smokers.”

 

Baheri, India: A man has been arrested for running a pharmacy in Baheri, where he sold prohibited drugs, without a licence.

According to the Times of India, Vipin Kumar then tried to put pressure on police not to arrest him.

A team of Food Safety and Drug Administration staff went to the pharmacy and identified a number of drugs stamped “not to be sold in medical stores”.

“When we took the accused to the police station, he tried to use his influence to put pressure on cops and also falsely accused us of assaulting him,” an FSDA official told the Times.

 

Aberdeen, Scotland: A pharmacist has been ordered to pay £432,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act after he was convicted of forging prescriptions and committing VAT (value added tax) fraud.

According to the BBC, while Conrad Chau was the owner of the Holburn Pharmacy in 2013, he changed prescriptions in order to entice suppliers to send more medicines at a discounted price, with the aim of on-selling the surplus drugs.

The fraud came to light when genuine prescriptions were compared with the fraudulent versions sent to pharmaceutical suppliers.

Mr Chau was jailed for 20 months late last year.

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