Boots could face regulator's investigation after Guardian report

Boots faces the prospect of an investigation by the pharmacy watchdog, following a Guardian investigation into the multibillion pound chain, The Guardian reports.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is calling in evidence on the allegations made in the report, which revealed that managers at Britain’s biggest chain of chemists have been forcing staff to milk NHS schemes, in order to increase company profits.

The report also detailed a recent and yet to be published survey by the pharmacy trade union of its members, to which more than one in 10 of all Boots chemists responded.

Asked “how often do you believe financial cutbacks imposed by your main employer have directly impacted upon patient safety?”, more than 75% of those who responded to the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) said that was the case at least half the time.

Lyminge pharmacist fears closure due to NHS cuts Lyminge Pharmacy could be under threat if £170million worth of NHS cuts go ahead, the Folkestone Herald reports. Jas Thind, the pharmacist who runs the service in Lyminge, has written a letter to parishes across the Elham Valley asking them to sign a petition to stop the budget changes, which are being introduced to encourage more use of online pharmacies. In 2015-16 the NHS committed £2.8billion of funding to community pharmacies. In 2016-17 it will be reduced to £2.63billion which means £170million will be cut from chemists' budgets across England. Mr Thind told the Herald: "We aren't under a direct threat yet but if enough noise is made now we have a better chance of surviving in the future.” Cholesterol drug may help against cancer An experimental drug that is designed to lower cholesterol may turn out to be an effective weapon against prostate cancer, The Times reports. Tumour cells need cholesterol to construct their cell membrane. By cutting their cholesterol production the new molecule, known as RO 48-8071 causes the cells to fall apart and die. One way prostate tumours survive is by manufacturing testosterone through a process that relies on cholesterol.

Petition launched to support independent pharmacies after government announces budget cuts

Vulnerable patients in Datchet and Wraysbury could end up in hospital if the villages' independent pharmacies are forced to close by government funding cuts, the Ascot, Windsor & Eton Express reports.

That is the view of Simon Carter, owner of the Datchet Village Pharmacy and Wraysbury Village Pharmacy, who is calling on his patients to sign the Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign petition.

In December the government announced plans to cut the budget for community chemists by six per cent - a move which would see funding reduced from £2.8billion in 2015 to 2016 to £2.63bn for 2016 to 2017.

While the government will not tell pharmacies to close directly, it is estimated the funding cuts could force up to 3,000 independent stores across the country to shut.

Former Diss pharmacist and councillor Stanley Kitchen dies

Retired Diss pharmacist and councillor Stanley Kitchen has died at the age of 93, the Diss Express reports.

Mr Kitchen, who opened the first Boots store in Diss, combined his professional life with a lifetime in public service. He joined Diss Urban District Council in the 1950s, continued when it became the Diss Town Council and also served a term as a South Norfolk councillor.

He still found time to be an active member of Diss Round Table and the 41 Club for former Tablers, and of Diss Rotary Club.

He was also a keen gardener at the family home on Roydon Road and a caravanner.

Hay Fever: It's all about early prevention

Thanks to an unseasonably mild winter, many people across the region are experiencing an early onset of hay fever symptoms that are normally associated with the summer months, the Doncaster Free Press reports.

With over 30 years experience dealing with hay fever – and tackling it first hand as he is a hay fever sufferer himself – Richard Wells, superintendent pharmacist at Weldricks has a few tips for fellow sufferers.

“Hay fever is still the number one allergy in the region and, following the mild winter we’ve had, we’re already seeing people in our pharmacies with the classic symptoms of this particular allergy,” outlines Richard.

“Several of these customer have thought they’d just got a common cold but, when we talk to them, the diagnosis is actually hay fever which has come as a surprise to many as spring has only just officially sprung.”