World pharmacy news roundup: 17 March 2016

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Our weekly wrapup of pharmacy news from around the world

Wales, UK: Welsh pharmacies may be affected by the UK Government’s planned 6% cuts to pharmacists’ fees and allowances, Chemist + Druggist reports.

Pharmacists in Wales may be affected because England and Wales share elements of a contractual framework.

Community Pharmacy Wales chief executive Russell Goodway told C+D that the Welsh government will need to see another “pot of money” if it wants to maintain the current level of pharmacy funding.

“We will have early discussions with the government to see what the possibilities are,” he said.

Community Pharmacy Wales has not been part of the negotiations on the changes.

It’s unlikely the cuts will close many pharmacies in Wales, Goodway said, but if pharmacies are unable to replace losses by introducing new services, pharmacies could still close.


Puerto Rico, US: US pharmacy giant Walgreens is collaborating on Zika prevention with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC Foundation.

The collaboration involves all 120 Walgreens drugstores in Puerto Rico, and will include a dedicated space for information on CDC-recommended steps to prevent the spread of the virus, which is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites – though there is growing evidence that it may be asexually transmitted.

Along with other health agencies the CDC is investigating links between Zika infection and microcephaly.

Walgreens has lowered its prices on CDC-recommended items in the Puerto Rico stores, including insect repellent with DEET, condoms and thermometers to check for fever.


Indiana, US: A bill aimed at curbing methamphetamine production has passed the Indiana Senate, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.

Under the bill, pharmacists would become gatekeepers of medicines containing pseudoephedrine, and would be granted the discretion to deny PSE-containing medicines to customers who do not have an established relationship with the pharmacy.

These customers may be permitted only to buy medicine with a limited PSE dose, or get a script for a higher dosage. The state will track PSE sales from prescription.

A related bill prevents people with convictions related to heroin or meth from buying PSE without a prescription.

Legislators considered the needs of genuine sufferers for PSE when considering the bill, avoiding the step of taking the medicine to prescription-only.


UK: The National Pharmacy Association has sent campaign petition packs out to independent pharmacies across England, as part of its Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign against the UK Government’s planned 6% cuts to pharmacy.

“The petition is a really important element of the campaign, because it gives patients a straightforward opportunity to express their concerns, and we know that support from patients is needed to make the Government change from its disastrous course,” says NPA chairman Ian Strachan.

The national pharmacy bodies coordinating the campaign identified the need for the petition to complement a parliamentary e-petition which has already gathered tens of thousands of signatures: many pharmacy customers, NPA says, particularly the elderly, prefer the paper format.

In the meantime, 200,000 campaign postcards are in circulation.

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