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Online pharmacy failed to check suicide patient’s record


Online pharmacy failed to check suicide patient’s record

By Neil Trainis

A pharmacist working for an online pharmacy failed to check the medical records of a patient who had a history of mental illness and suicide attempts before prescribing her with propranolol which she used to take her own life.

Chris Newbury, a pharmacist with over 20 years’ experience who has been an independent prescriber for 10 years and works at The Independent Pharmacy, reportedly told an inquest this month into the death of Kirsty Leanne McNulty that he was unable to look at her records “because it was a weekend,” according to LancsLive.

The inquest heard Ms McNulty, who was facing eviction and was worried about finding somewhere else to live, contacted the online pharmacy to order the medicine on Friday, July 9 last year and falsely told them it was to treat a migraine. Her medical records revealed she was on weekly prescriptions and indicated she was receiving treatment for mental health problems.

Ms McNulty had taken an overdose five times in the year leading up to her death and in a message she sent to her care co-ordinator just three days before her body was discovered, she said: “I am done. There is nothing that can help...I'm sick of trying.” She was found dead at her London Terrace home on July 15, the morning after the medication had arrived at her home, having taken a large amount of the beta blocker.

Mr Newbury admitted he was in error in believing she wanted the medication to treat migraines and the pharmacy said it launched an investigation and put in place a series of changes including stopping its supply of propranolol following her death. The pharmacy also said none of its pharmacists can supply any prescription if they have not looked at a patient’s record.

When asked if it has or is planning to bring Mr Newbury before a fitness-to-practise hearing, the General Pharmaceutical Council told Independent Community Pharmacist: "There has been a concern raised about this and our investigation into the matter currently remains ongoing."

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