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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2005
news news Warning of an increase in violence in pharmacies A senior Australian law enforcement officer has warned of a likely increase in violence in pharmacies as restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine-based medicines took hold. Kevin Kitson, director of the National Criminal Intelligence at the Australian Crime Commission told law enforcement delegates at the recent National Chemical Diversion Conference in Darwin (4–6 October) that there would be conse- quences to the successful rescheduling of these medicines. ‘The re-scheduling of pseudoephedrine products has been a success and a good move, but it will increase sourcing off- shore, reduce the capacity of the rogue pharmacist and likely result in an increase in violent measures to access pseu- doephedrine from pharmacists.’ Mr Kitson told the AJP that it was important that pharmacists understood they were part of the solution, not part of the problem. ‘There are rogue pharmacists who knowingly supply these medicines in bulk, but we wouldn’t have had the progress we’ve already achieved without the sup- port and information from the very large majority of pharmacists. We understand that it comes at a cost and the community would be grateful for their efforts,’ he said. Also attending the conference was a delegation from the Queensland Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia who were promoting the use of the IT platform epothecary as a reporting mechanism to police about suspicious pseudephedrine sales. Among the delegation was Queensland Branch president Kos Sclavos, who has been working closely with the Queens- land Department of Health and Police in developing the reporting system, which has been called Project Stop. Mr Sclavos told the AJP that he hoped that all pharmacies would adopt the sys- tem, because it offered numerous benefits. ‘If the pharmacist knows there is a sus- picious sale they just log on and once they fill in the required details, the form is lodged directly to the police where it is allocated a job number. ‘The police will be able to receive infor- mation around the clock, even when the police lines are not manned, and phar- macists will at least get some acknowl- edgement that the police have the infor- mation and will follow through.’ Mr Sclavos demonstrated that there were numerous options for the type of sale, including ‘threatening’ sales. It was stressed that if they felt threat- ened during a pseudoephedrine-based consumer request, pharmacists and staff should not refuse supply, but take down details of the consumer and the sale, then contact the police, such as via epothecary. ¦ Putting the brakes on speed The Guild’s Queensland Branch delegation with Northern Territorian police in front of the epothecary stand T ECKITT Benckiser has won the bid to buy Boots Healthcare Inter- national in a cash deal worth UK£1.926. Six companies are understood to have made bids for Boots Healthcare, with Reckitt, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline viewed as the front-runners. Reckitt wins Boots R The Boots Group placed its Health- care division up for sale because it was necessary in order for it to complete a merger with Alliance Unichem. Once the Boots-Alliance merger is completed, it will become Europe’s largest retail pharmacy business with combined sales worth $22.8bn (UK£13bn). ¦ 850 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 86 NOVEMBER 2005 HE Clandestine Laboratory Community Awareness Project, also known as ‘Putting the Brakes on Speed’, has been funded by the National Drug Strategy Law Enforcement Funding Committee to enhance community awareness of clandestine drug laboratories and encourage reporting of suspicious signs of possible amphetamine production sites. Over the next 12 months drug investigation police will make a series of presentations to industry and community groups to discuss the program and provide a ‘showbag’ of information and marketing materials. For more information about the program or source the information kit, contact the drug investigation unit in your state. Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Crimestoppers number 1800 333 000 to report anything suspicious. ¦