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NEWS IN BRIEF: Jail; Newington Pharmacy; Attempted Burglary; Hep C; New Hospital; Care Home Visits; Zika


29 Jan 2016

Man jailed after threatening pharmacy staff with a syringe and demanding drugs

A man who threatened staff at a Basildon pharmacy with a syringe has been locked up, the Echo reports.

Keith Weights, of Innes Close, Wickford, entered Allcures Pharmacy on Whitmore Way, armed with a syringe just before 5.30pm on October 29, 2015.

He threatened staff with it and demanded that they give him some Diazepam – a tranquillizing muscle-relaxant drug used to relieve anxiety.

However he didn’t realise that a shop worker had managed to call police unnoticed.

NHS suspend licence of Newington pharmacy in Ramsgate after police raid

Newington Pharmacy has had its contract suspended for six months by the NHS due to an ongoing police investigation, the Kent Online reports.

The pharmacy can no longer provide any NHS pharmacy services, including dispensing prescriptions, however they can continue to trade.

The suspension comes after the pharmacy was raided by police and NHS fraud investigators on January 11. Officers were seen going in and out of the shop all day and placing bags in a police van.

Attempted burglary on high street pharmacy in Thornbury the second in recent weeks

Police are investigating an attempted burglary on a pharmacy in Thornbury last night, the second to occur on the premises in just over a month, the Gazette reports.

A police helicopter was dispatched from Filton around midnight after reports of burglars attempting to break into Lloyds Pharmacy on Thornbury High Street.

A similar attempted break-in took place in the early hours of December 17, an attack believed to be linked to Michael Anthony hair salon in Alveston on the same night.

FDA approves Merck’s new hepatitis C pill

U.S. regulators on Thursday approved a new once-daily pill for the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus made by Merck & Co Inc, which said it will sell the drug at a lower list price than its competitors, Reuters reports.

The list price for Zepatier will be $54,600 for a 12-week regimen, which Merck said it expects “to be in the range of net prices” for comparable treatments.

Gilead Sciences Inc, which secured an early lead in the lucrative market for oral hepatitis C drugs with the $1,000-per-pill Sovaldi, currently sells an enhanced version of that drug as a single-tablet regimen called Harvoni at a list price of $94,500.

AbbVie Inc followed in late 2014 with a multi-pill regimen. Nevertheless, AbbVie secured exclusive contracts with payers such as pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co, forcing Gilead to discount its own contract prices.

New £75m private hospital could be built next to Manchester Royal Infirmary

Plans for a £75m state-of-the-art private hospital opposite Manchester Royal Infirmary are to be discussed by the town hall next week, Manchester Evening News reports.

The development – on Manchester Metropolitan University’s vacant former Hathersage Road campus – would be run by Nuffield Healthcare and forms the latest phase of the vision for a ‘science corridor’ on Oxford Road.

It would have 60 beds, six operating theatres, a critical care unit, an outpatients department, a pharmacy and minor treatment rooms, as well as physiotherapy, an endoscopy suite and a gym.

Short home care visits ‘plague system’

Unacceptably short 15-minute home care visits to elderly and disabled people are still plaguing the care system in England, the BBC reports.

Research by Unison found “distressing” cases of care being compromised after surveying councils and care workers.

Councils are not meant to schedule 15-minute visits for personal care, like help with washing, dressing or eating. But the union said its findings showed many were still doing just that despite repeated calls for longer visits.

Zika: Trials for vaccine for disease linked to shrunken heads ‘could start this year’

Clinical trials for a vaccine for the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in unborn children, may start by the end of the year, according to US officials, the Independent reports.

Health experts in the US have said there are two potential candidates for the testing the vaccine on.

However, opinions on when the vaccine would be ready are conflicting. US officials said that the vaccine would not be ready for several years.

But Canadian scientist Gary Kobinger, a lead developer for the vaccine, told Reuters that the first stage of human testing could start in early August – meaning it could be ready by autumn 2016.


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