June 4, 2014
No independent pharmacy owner or manager wants to think about trusted employees diverting prescription medications illegally. But as prescription drug abuse continues to afflict the nation, pharmacy owners may need to take precautions to protect their businesses from outside—and internal—threats.
Internal theft is a real issue today. RxPatrol, a national database that tracks, analyzes and provides information on pharmacy crime, identified the following common scams committed by pharmacy employees.
– Filling prescriptions for deceased patients
– Unauthorized early refills
– Filling fake written or called-in prescriptions
– Short filling prescriptions and pocketing medication
– Taking tablets from bottles, then replacing with “look alike” tablets
– Opening bottles or packages, removing tablets and then replacing and gluing the seal
Besides watching out for those common methods of theft by employees, here are 10 tips to help secure and protect your pharmacy from internal theft.
1. Don’t allow all employees access to every area of the pharmacy. Limit access to the dispensing area based on need.
2. Don’t permit keys that unlock critical or sensitive areas to be taken off site. Stamp all keys with “Do Not Duplicate.”
3. Develop unique alarm codes for each authorized user.
4. Maintain an organized and clean workspace to reduce the opportunity for theft. Limit purses and bags allowed in the dispensing area.
5. Create separate key and alarm access codes.
6. Change alarm codes routinely.
7. Install CCTV cameras to deter employee theft. They also work as a robbery prevention measure.
8. Escort non-pharmacy staff at all times. (i.e. repairmen, contractors, family members)
9. When opening a new bottle of medication, always count the entire content of the bottle, even if only filling a small amount.
10. Waste and returns present an opportunity for internal theft. Implement strong controls such as witnessing all waste logging and securely storing waste, returns, and recalls until disposal.
For more tips on preventing internal theft, read the Internal Pharmacy Theft brochure from RxPatrol and Purdue Pharma.