Illegal EPO sales in Ethiopia revealed; UK drones to avoid pharmacy “walk of shame,” hepatitis drug protest in Pakistan
UK: One online pharmacy is hoping to deliver emergency contraception and Viagra via drone, the UK’s Telegraph reports, helping consumers avoid what the paper calls the pharmacy “walk of shame”.
MedExpress is currently discussing its plans for the drone delivery service with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the UK’s independent regulator for pharmacy services.
According to the Telegraph, the company has already run a trial of the drone delivery service.
“For years women and teenage girls buying morning after pills from pharmacies have had to put up with being grilled about their sex life as part of an on-the-spot consultation, an ordeal which has put some off buying the drug all together,” writes Consumer Affairs Editor Katie Morley.
“But if MedExpress’s plans are successful and catch on it could mean customers are able to buy the product without even leaving their house.”
Details of purchases will be blacked out on sales records and bank accounts, the company says.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: An investigation by the Guardian and German broadcaster ARD has uncovered a pharmacy illegally selling the performance-enhancing drug EPO.
Addis Ababa’s Gishen pharmacy, across the road from the city’s National Stadium, has been prohibited from trading for three months, Ethiopia’s government has confirmed.
During recent national athletics championships taking place at the stadium, the pharmacy sold two journalists nine vials of EPO over a 26-minute period, the investigation revealed.
A government inquiry confirmed the allegations, including that the pharmacy had not required prescriptions for the drugs and no questions were asked about why the medicine was wanted.
Lamont, Alberta: Not content with just breaking into a pharmacy in Lamont, northeast of Edmonton this month, three suspects gained entry by ripping off the store’s front doors.
Between 2.45am and 3.05am one morning, the suspects used an older-model Chevrolet pickup truck to take the pharmacy’s doors off, Global News reports.
The alleged thieves got away with around CAD$20,000 (AUD$20,005) worth of pharmaceuticals.
Lahore: Pharmacists have held a protest outside the Lahore Press Club, alarmed at the high cost of cancer and hepatitis medicines.
Pharmacists from the Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association and lawyers from the Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum pointed out that similar drugs are being sold much more cheaply in India, the Tribune reports.
For example, Nexavar retails at Rs232,800 (AUD$2,774) in Pakistan, but for the equivalent of Rs10,000 (AUD$119) in India.
According to Drug Lawyers Forum president Dr Noor Muhammad Mahar, more than 4000 people die daily as a result of the high cost of these drugs.
The lawyers and pharmacists strongly criticised the pricing structure of antivirals, claiming that Pakistani companies attempting to register to supply drugs at lower prices are being “blocked” and suggested that former federal interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali might be helping create shortages.