World News Wrapup: 4 August 2016

AJP takes a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Hawaii, US: A pharmacist and pharmacy technician in Hawaii have quit their jobs after being robbed by a man with a BB gun, under the impression that it was a real weapon.

Kevin Glick, owner of the Kappa Pharmacy, told the Associated Press that he has quit the profession entirely because of the trauma relating to the incident.

Walter Mills entered the pharmacy last year, wearing a mask and carrying a BB gun, and stole nearly 2000 pills of OxyContin, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone, according to court documents.

At his sentencing he said he did not feel good about having traumatised the pharmacy’s staff. He was sentenced to six years in federal prison, three years of supervised release and to pay back more than $1000 for the stolen drugs.


Jerusalem, Israel: Veteran pharmacists can now prescribe a range of drugs, following a “stormy” debate, reports the Jerusalem Post.

The drugs include those containing 21 active ingredients, including those for acne, constipation, migraine, obesity and skin or eye infections. The measure is hoped to save Government money.

Pharmacists will be required to read the patient’s medical information while protecting their privacy before prescribing; they are also able to refuse to supply the drug and refer to a doctor instead.

There was significant opposition to the new regulation, including by Israeli Medical Association vice chairman Dr. Alberto Olchubsky, who said that, “Forcing pharmacists to diagnose conditions is not part of their job and is against the law. Sometimes a rash that looks simple in fact reflects a systemic disease. We are abandoning patients in the hands of those not trained for this.”

Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee chairman MK Eli Alalouf said that, “Pharmacists are educated people with good judgment. Let them reduce the red tape.”


UK: The UK’s new pharmacy minister, David Mowat, has “broken his silence” by responding to an open letter addressed to him by Chemist + Druggist editor James Waldron, reports the magazine.

In his letter Waldron urged the new Minister to “take the time to listen to the sector,” which is facing a funding cut of £170 million overseen by Mr Mowat’s predecessor, Alistair Burt.

He urged the new Minister to attend industry events and visit pharmacies to gain a better understanding of the role community pharmacists play, recognise the difficulties pharmacists are enduring from workloads, target pressures and financial uncertainty, and to speak out on the funding cuts.

The Minister responded to Waldron via Twitter this week, saying pharmacy is “an important frontline service and I am looking forward to supporting the sector as it modernises”.

He said he would “make sure that we make the most of pharmacists’ skills and provide the best possible service to the public”.


Washington, US: American Pharmacists Association CEO Thomas E. Menighan has addressed the new Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 in his blog, outlining how the new law will provide a framework for opioid abuse prevention and treatment.

The law includes provisions that emphasise the pharmacist’s vital role in caring for patients, he writes, including expanded access to naloxone; increased disposal options; allowing partial fills for Schedule II controlled substances; and grants to educate pharmacists.

A federal pain management task force, which will include a pharmacist, will be created to find discrepancies between best practices for pain management and opioid prescribing guidelines.

“Prior to being passed, the CARA bill included a provision that would have required a pharmacist to consult their state prescription drug monitoring program every time they fill a Schedule II, III, or IV prescription,” Menighan writes.

The final package does not contain this provision.

“The fact that this provision did not become part of the final legislation is a recognition of several key facts: 1) prescription drug monitoring programs are increasingly helpful to pharmacists with dispensing decisions, 2) checking for every controlled substance order would have negated our judgement and knowledge of so many of our patients, AND 3) it would have brought our workflow to a standstill. We are grateful to the conference committee for recognising our concerns and for their work,” he writes.


Chennai, India: A “heated” debate between two panels – one supporting online pharmacy and one supporting bricks and mortar pharmacy – highlighted mixed views among pharmacy stakeholders in India about the scope of online pharmacy.

Those in favour of online trade were pharmacy academics, clinical research association and media, while those opposed were from wholesale trade, pharmacy council and consumer awareness groups, reports

Pharma trade leader and managing director of Essen Associates, R. Sreenivasan, said the existing model of delivering medicines should be continued as the system supports drug dispensing by a pharmacist, while e-pharmacy is not in the public interest and is insufficiently controlled.

But T S Jayashankar, managing director of Quest Life Sciences, said online sale of drugs is already in practice in all developed countries, offering accessibility and reasonable prices.

India must offer online pharmacies which are on par with the developed nations, he said, and India has all the facilities to create a good platform for online trade of medicines.

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