World news wrapup: 6 July 2017

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Scottish pharmacy to sell alcohol; US pharmacist jailed for 30 years; second car crashes through Canadian pharmacy window

Fife, Scotland: A village pharmacist has been granted approval to sell alcohol from his Pittenweem Pharmacy, reports the Scottish Sun.

The pharmacy already sells cigarettes, the paper reports.

According to principal pharmacist Peter Tinkler, the pharmacy – which serves a village of 2000 people – has a separate section which already includes the post-office and newsagent, well away from the dispensary, and changes in the running of post offices means he has had to diversify the business.

At least one local objected to the move to sell alcohol, citing the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Code of Ethics, but the licence was granted.


Lexington, Kentucky: Kentucky pharmacist Lonnie Hubbard has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, after he was convicted of helping others illegally distribute drugs.

Mr Hubbard was convicted in February on 73 counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting others in the illegal distribution of drugs. These related to money laundering and illegal dispensing of oxycodone, hydrocodone and pseudoephedrine.

In 2015, he was charged with selling large amounts of pseudoephedrine for around five years.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Hubbard sold more than 6000 boxes of pseudoephedrine from his pharmacy, RX Discount of Berea.

“In many instances, this unlawfully obtained pseudoephedrine was then used in the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine,” they said.


Ontario, Canada: A pharmacy in Stratford, Ontario has just been the victim of a car crashing through its front window – for the second time.

An older driver overshot the parking spot he was aiming for, according to the Stratford Beacon Herald, taking out the pharmacy’s front displays, but fortunately, no people.

While the pharmacy was open at the time, pharmacist and co-owner Heather Konstant said that “I don’t think there were any customers at the time. Some had just left.”

The pharmacy is the third business in Stratford to experience a storefront collision over the last few months, with a hairdresser and a bank also affected, each by different drivers.

Ms Konstant said it’s the second time somebody has driven into the pharmacy.

“This is at least the second time in the last five or six years,” she said.


New Zealand: A New Zealand pharmacist, identified only as Ms C, learned a “painful lesson” after making a dispensing error as well as twice dispensing Ferrograd F which was about to expire or expired – all when serving the same patient.

Ms C dispensed Dostinex (cabergoline) 500mcg instead of Mercaptopurine 50mg, having mistakenly written “Dostinex” on the script when processing it.

“The only thing that I think could have led to making this mistake was that the dose of both of the medicines are similar (both are taken as a weekly dose) and that both products are packaged in a small amber glass bottle,” Ms C told the Health and Disability Commissioner.

“This incident where I mistakenly checked off cabergoline as mercaptopurine has taught me a painful lesson of not to assume that the brand name is the medicine of the generic name that I have in mind but to always sight the generic name and underline it, or in its absence to write it down.”

The error took place during the pharmacy’s rush hour, the HDC heard.

At an urgent staff meeting measures were put in place – such as reducing Ms C’s workload from serving 75% of customers (because she was at the front dispensing computer and most likely to be approached) to 50% of customers, and a directive to always check against the generic name, as well as having two pharmacists perform checks where possible.

The dispensing of expired Ferrograd F was seen largely as a failure of the pharmacy’s systems “green dot” system was also implemented to identify stock due to expire within six months.

The NZ Herald described the case as a “wake-up call” for pharmacies.


UK: Some pharmacies have received letters from the Care Quality Commission suggesting they may have committed a criminal offence, Britain’s National Pharmacy Association says.

NPA chief pharmacist Leyla Hannbeck wrote on the NPA website that a few pharmacies had read the letters suggesting they had not registered with the CQC as a service provider, breaching the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Ms Hannbeck told Chemist + Druggist that “a few contractors” had received the letters, which were titled, “Important – concerns suspected criminal offence”. She urged NPA members who received the letters to contact NPA lawyers.

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