Sloppy dispensing and security risks

Claims reported to Guild Insurance highlight an alarming trend.  Sloppy medication handling can compromise the security of not just your pharmacy, but all pharmacies. Practices such as storing methadone in cupboards rather than the drug safe or being coerced into dispensing multiple repeats may seem convenient, but it sends a disturbing message to the public.  It suggests that community pharmacy is an easy target for criminal activity. 

It may surprise you to know that hundreds of burglaries or armed hold-ups occur every year.  Some pharmacies have been attacked multiple times leaving staff traumatised and the business closed for repairs.  Criminals know who’s vulnerable.  Busy pharmacies ordering large supplies of pseudoephedrine, opiates, alprazolam and the like, are attractive to thieves.    So too are pharmacists who bend the rules of dispensing by not challenging prescribed quantities or suspicious scripts.  Deliveries are easily monitored by thieves and tracking technology can help pinpoint the exact location of particular stock and security measures.    

And to make matters worse, some pharmacies have been unable to accurately quantify their drug losses after a theft because their drug register wasn’t up to date.   

Good dispensing practice protects the profession.

  • Experienced pharmacists must be role models for professional practice – you can’t expect others to follow the rules if you’re cutting corners.
  • There’s no excuse for not knowing what’s expected of you as a registered pharmacist. The Pharmacy Board of Australia has little tolerance for pharmacists who don’t adhere to accepted standards. Allocate time in your diary to research your obligations. Don’t keep putting it off – it’s not worth the risk of costly penalties and damage to your reputation.
  • The risk of inadequate drug safe storage can no longer be ignored.  Safes should meet accepted standards and be positioned to maintain security and support good dispensing workflow.
  • Don’t be blinded by commercial opportunities - carefully consider how new ways of working may impact safe dispensing and security.

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