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Pharmacies warned of ‘unsolicited packages’ from ‘The Cyrus Project’

Pharmacy staff have been told to handle any suspicious package wearing nitrile gloves
Pharmacy staff have been told to handle any suspicious package wearing nitrile gloves

Pharmacies have been warned about unsolicited packages from an organisation called ‘The Cyrus Project’ after “a number” of healthcare providers were targeted in 24 hours.

England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies issued a “class 1” medical alert last night (August 2), warning healthcare professionals to handle with care any “unsolicited packages” received from an organisation called ‘The Cyrus Project’.

The unknown entity sent packages to “a number of health-related organisations over the last 24 hours”, requesting them to test a sample, Dame Davies said.

“Public Health England has confirmed initial testing on packages received to date shows it is highly unlikely the substance contained is hazardous,” she added in the alert.

However, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said as “a precautionary measure, community pharmacy teams are advised to take a number of actions [see below] if they receive a package”.

Two men arrested

The Metropolitan police confirmed this afternoon that a 29-year-old man from Brent and a 37-year-old man from Harrow were arrested yesterday on “suspicion of Malicious Communications Act offences, after packages containing liquid were sent to a number of hospitals across the UK”.

“None of the packages have so far been found to contain anything hazardous,” they stressed.

The suspects have been released on bail to return to a north London police station in late August, it added.

Dame Davies' advice for healthcare professionals

  • Handle the package with care, wearing nitrile gloves and quarantine it in a secure leak-proof container
  • Wash your hands, or any part of your body that comes into contact with the package, with water
  • Alert your local NHS England emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR) contact that you have received a package
  • Notify Public Health England via [email protected] (providing a named contact on site for PHE to liaise with)
  • Contact your local police force via 101 and inform them you are in receipt of a package
  • Media enquiries relating to this should be directed to your local police force.

Source:Chief Medical Officer alert, August 3, 2018

2 Comments
Question: 
Have you ever received a suspicious package in your pharmacy?

Dave Downham, Manager

Is the absence of packages from The Cyrus Project yet another snub to community pharmacy?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Yep. We are way too unimportant to be worthy of an attack. 

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