Community Pharmacy Security Information

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With the launch of DrugSafeBC on September 15, 2015, we would like to thank all community pharmacy professionals for your hard work and cooperation. All of you deserve a pat on the back for your commitment to keeping your patients, your colleagues, and yourselves safe.

The purpose of DrugSafeBC is to reduce pharmacy robberies and the amount of narcotics that end up on our streets. Time delay safes and standard signage are critical security measures to achieve those goals. These security measures and others are outlined in Professional Practice Policy 74 – Community Pharmacy Security (PPP-74).

The College made an extra effort to publicize time delay safes in the media with newspaper, radio and television advertisements. The reason behind this is simple: to prevent pharmacy robberies from happening in the first place.

Increasing the time it takes for a criminal to steal narcotics from mere seconds to well over five minutes exponentially increases the risk of the crime and the chances to be caught. With widespread public awareness, criminals will no longer see pharmacies as easy targets and these types of robberies will decrease. This course of action was informed by the expert advice of the Vancouver Police Department and other stakeholders.

This is why the College is focused on integrating time delay safes in community pharmacy workflows. There is no value and no protection by having a time delay safe open throughout the day; it could place your pharmacy and other pharmacies at serious risk.

Standard signage on all external entrances is another critical security measure that complements the use of a time delay safe. These signs will deter criminals from entering the pharmacy, observing your security procedures, and possibly attempting a robbery.

The College Board feels strongly that the most important goal of pharmacy security is to protect patients and pharmacy professionals, and to prevent the diversion of drugs. That is why we continue to publicize DrugSafeBC. In addition, College staff will be strengthening the PPP-74 policy by placing it into bylaw(s). Until bylaw(s) have been developed and submitted to the Ministry of Health, we strongly encourage community pharmacies to continue to implement PPP-74. As with any proposed bylaw, it will be available on the College website for public comment.  

We thank you again for your hard work and cooperation. 

Sep 22, 2015