Valerie Briggs, MBA
Today marks the beginning of the fifth annual NCPA Protect Your Pharmacy Week to help educate our members about pharmacy crime and to offer pharmacists a menu of ideas from which they can choose and personalize solutions that work for their pharmacy. This entry is the first in our weeklong series on The Dose on pharmacy crime and ways to fight it.
We began this initiative in 2008, in response to increasing outreach from our members and the media about crimes against pharmacies. While we’d like to say the need for this initiative has diminished over these past 5 years, but unfortunately, it has grown increasingly to a public health concern.
A recent segment on ABC World News highlighted the growing number of pharmacy robberies, including two recent robberies at independent Rockville Pharmacy in Rockville Maryland. According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) statistics cited in the story, pharmacy robberies have increased 82 percent from 2006-2011 with 3,535 pharmacies having been robbed during that period.
Owner Bruce Goodarzi said some of his efforts to combat these crimes include increasing security surveillance and storing drugs in narcotics safes. The Protect Your Pharmacy Now! toolkit, just reissued this month to NCPA pharmacy owner and manager members, includes discounts on surveillance systems, narcotics safes, alarms, employee background screenings, and other theft deterrent products to provide a turn-key resource for pharmacy operators. The kit contains safety and security tips, and checklists to help pharmacies assess their current security needs. In addition, NCPA members receive posters and window clings to serve as reminders to employees, customers, and drug seekers that robbing a pharmacy is a federal offense and carries with it severe penalties. We thank our sponsors American Health Care Capital, Community Pharmacy Foundation, Live Oak Bank, Rochester Drug Cooperative, and Purdue Pharma, creators of RxPATROL, for helping to make this kit possible.
We invite NCPA members to join us for tomorrow’s Members Forum at 2 PM ET to learn more about some of the discounts offered via the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative. Click here for more information and to register. And we invite everyone to join us on our new Protect Your Pharmacy Now! page Facebook for the latest updates on our program all year-long.
As part of Protect Your Pharmacy Now!, our partners at RxPATROL have created special training videos with various NCPA members to offer real-life examples, tips and suggestions to help pharmacy owners prepare to improve the safety and security of their stores. This year’s video will address instance of prescription fraud and diversion, such as forgeries, internal theft, and doctor shopping, so if you and your pharmacy have experienced this, we want to hear from you. The video will be revealed at the 2012 NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in San Diego, October 13-17.
We are also tackling this issue of pharmacy crime on Capitol Hill. Recently NCPA testified before the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to discuss drug abuse, diversion, and pharmacy crime. NCPA will continue to make recommendations to the administration and to Congress on this critical issue. In addition, NCPA recently endorsed the Safe Doses Act (S. 1002), legislation increasing penalties for theft and diversion of prescription medications. We will also address this issue at the upcoming NCPA Legislative Conference in May, with a pharmacy crime panel featuring representatives from Purdue Pharma L.P., the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Click here for more information and to register.
We hope you can join us for Protect Your Pharmacy Week and every week to help keep you and your pharmacy safe and keep this issue of pharmacy crime top of mind. Until that one fateful day when it is no longer an issue.