World news wrapup: 9 February 2017

We take a look at pharmacy news from around the world

Essex, UK: A pharmacist who waited with an elderly patient for nearly two hours in below freezing temperatures has been hailed as a hero.

Essex Live reports that Danbury pharmacist Rupinder Bhangu went to the aid of 84-year-old Peter Box, who collapsed while out walking.

While a neighbour called an ambulance for Mr Box, it took just over two hours to arrive, despite the minus-three-degrees chill. Another neighbour, noticing that Mr Box was asking about his heart medication, went to the nearby Boots Pharmacy to ask for help.

Mr Bhangu went straight to the man’s aid and remained with him for over an hour and a half, speaking to emergency services until the ambulance finally arrived.

“Rupinder is ever so helpful but by golly that was above and beyond. He didn’t have a coat and he must have stood there for at least one and a half hours, waiting for the ambulance,” the neighbour who had sought help from the pharmacy told Essex Live.

“It’s just one of those natural things,” Mr Bhangu told Essex Live. “Someone wanted help, so I went to help.”


Dallas, Texas: A pharmacist has pleaded guilty to federal felony offences stemming from her involvement in a “pill mill” operation, in which she distributed more than 70,000 oxycodone pills.

According to plea documents filed in Ndufola Kigham’s case, several individuals including a local doctor conspired to distribute 30mg oxycodone pills between approximately January 2013 and August 2014.

Ms Kigham, 44, admitted that she knew of the conspiracy and failed to notify any authority of it, the DEA says.

“Instead, she committed affirmative acts to conceal the conspiracy, such as filling prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone written for multiple different individuals and dispensing the filled prescriptions to a single individual, and not to the individuals named on the prescription.

“By filling these prescriptions while the conspiracy was ongoing, Ms Kigham dispensed more than 70,000 30mg oxycodone pills based on legitimate prescriptions.”

The defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in federal prison for each of two counts of misprision of a felony.

She has also agreed to pay a US$9,500 fine prior to sentencing.


Jammu, India: Over 1000 pharmacies in the Indian city of Jammu shuttered their doors last week in protest against an “anti-trade” government policy. reports that the local Chemists and Druggists Association also held a demonstration outside the main gate of the Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh Hospital.

President of the Jammu branch of the Association Naveen Bali told demonstrating pharmacists and drug wholesalers that the Government has opened roughly 57 pharmacies in Government hospitals in the region, for which it accepted the tenders of non-state subjects. Mr Bali says this is illegal.

“We feel this was purely done in lieu of exchange of favours,” he told the Tribune India.

The initial strike was called for 72 hours, but Mr Bali said the pharmacists could escalate their protest if the Government does not change its mind.


UK: Pharmacy Voice, an association of trade bodies which brings together and speaks on behalf of community pharmacy contractors, has announced that it will cease to exist following its split with the National Pharmacy Association.

Pharmacy Voice’s chief executive Rob Darracott confirmed that NPA’s departure from the association, which was announced in December, means it is “not possible” for Pharmacy Voice to continue, reports Chemist + Druggist.

The group comprises the NPA, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and the Company Chemists’ Association, though the NPA was set to leave at the end of 2017.

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