NCPA heralds 'Protect Your Pharmacy Week'

Organization will provide info. on blog website

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association announced its recognition of the fifth annual "Protect Your Pharmacy Week" beginning Monday.

The week is a reflection of the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative, which was launched in 2008 by the partnering organizations to encourage pharmacists to protect their stores, staff and patients against pharmacy crimes, including prescription drug robbery and thefts.

“[Community pharmacists] are proud of the fact that most independent community pharmacies have strong, long-lasting, face-to-face, personal relationships with their patients," NCPA past-president Joseph Harmison said. "This in fact serves as a deterrent to abuse because we know our patients, making it easier for us to detect a doctor shopper just looking for more controlled substances. Accordingly, we support efforts to educate pharmacists regarding how to effectively fulfill their role in decreasing prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion.”

A highlight of the week is the annual call for volunteer video nominations for the Protect Your Pharmacy Now/RxPatrol Pharmacy Safety and Security Video. These training videos have featured various NCPA members offering real-life examples, tips and suggestions on pharmacy theft, primarily regarding robberies and burglaries. This year’s video will address instance of prescription fraud and diversion, such as forgeries, internal theft and doctor shopping. The video will be revealed at the 2012 NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in San Diego, October 13 to 17.

During Protect Your Pharmacy Week, pharmacists in all settings can read a weeklong series on various aspects of pharmacy safety and security on NCPA’s blog, The Dose, at NCPAnet.wordpress.com.

Crimes against pharmacy are a continuing problem, NCPA noted, with an 82% increase in pharmacy robberies in the past five years, according to the DEA. NCPA recently mailed to its members an updated reissue of its Protect Your Pharmacy Now! toolkit, with 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. The kit also includes discounts the NCPA has secured for employee background screenings, narcotics safes, surveillance systems, cameras, alarms and other theft-deterrent products to provide a turn-key resource for pharmacy operators.

In addition, NCPA recently endorsed the Safe Doses Act (S. 1002), legislation increasing penalties for theft and diversion of prescription medications. The issue also will be addressed at the upcoming NCPA Legislative Conference in May, with a pharmacy crime panel featuring representatives from Purdue Pharma, the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

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