New Requirements for Community Pharmacy Security Coming Soon!
New requirements are coming into effect soon that will enhance the security of community pharmacies in BC. These measures are important in reducing the number of pharmacy robberies and break and enters, as well as for securing personal health information. The new pharmacy security requirements, together with a transition plan and related policy, will come into effect starting April 21, 2017.
In February 2017, the College Board approved amendments to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws to establish minimum security measures for community pharmacies as well as revisions to Professional Practice Policy 74: Community Pharmacy Security, and a repeal of the Community Pharmacy Security Resource Guide.
“pharmacy security” means
measures to prevent unauthorized access and loss of Schedule I, IA, II and III drugs, and controlled drug substances;
measures providing for periodic and post-incident review of pharmacy security;
measures to protect against unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal of personal health information
(Definition from the new Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act– BYLAWS, Section 1)
The new pharmacy security requirements are the product of a multi-year effort to address serious concerns regarding community pharmacy security. The Vancouver Police Department first brought concerns to the College following an escalating number of community pharmacy robberies. As a result, the College acted fast to introduce initial pharmacy security policies through Professional Practice Policy 74: Community Pharmacy Security and the DrugSafeBC program. The College also began to conduct a more fulsome review of community pharmacy security as part of transitioning the policy into bylaws.
New Requirements Come Into Effect April 21, 2017
The amended bylaws have been filed with the Minister of Health and will come into effect on April 21, 2017, together with a three year transition period for community pharmacies to implement physical barriers. Amendments to the College’s Community Pharmacy Security policy will also come into effect and the Community Pharmacy Security Resource Guide will be repealed.
Rise in Break and Enters
While DrugSafeBC has been a remarkable success in reducing the number of pharmacy robberies, our recent pharmacy incident statistics for 2016 have shown an increase in pharmacy break and enters.
The key difference between robberies and break-and-enters is that break-and-enters occur outside of operating hours. This emphasizes the need for physical barrier requirements for community pharmacies when the pharmacy is closed and the premises is accessible to non-registrants.
Physical Barrier Requirements
Physical barriers along with the other security measures in the amended bylaws are part of a continuum of security measures supported through crime prevention research and best practices.
These barriers are required to secure Schedule I and II drugs, controlled drug substances, and personal health information.
Rather than require a “one size fits all” approach to the physical barrier requirement, the bylaws allow for physical barriers to be tailored to the unique needs and structure of individual community pharmacies.
Examples of physical barriers include: locked gates, grillwork, locked cabinets, locked doors, and locked shelving units.
Transition Period for Physical Barrier Requirements
Recognizing that some pharmacies will need time to implement physical barriers, the College has set out a transition period for existing pharmacies to meet this requirement.
Existing community pharmacies will have three years, until April 21, 2020, to become compliant with the physical barriers requirement.
All new community pharmacies will be required to comply with the new physical barrier requirements as part of the pharmacy licensing process for new pharmacies.
New Pharmacy applicants for pharmacies opening on April 21, 2017 or thereafter must meet the physical barrier requirements to become licensed as a pharmacy.
Revised Professional Practice Policy #74: Community Pharmacy Security
With the initial community pharmacy security measures in PPP-74: Community Pharmacy Security transitioned to bylaw, the policy has been revised to provide guidance on the application of the bylaws.
Essential items within the Community Pharmacy Security Resource Guide were also transitioned into the policy. As a result, the Guide is no longer needed and will be repealed by the College once the new pharmacy security bylaws and policies come into effect.
The DrugSafeBC Signage provides a consistent province-wide deterrent message that additional layers of security are in place. It is critical that all pharmacies comply with this requirement to ensure that their pharmacy does not become a “soft target”.
All new pharmacies receive DrugSafeBC Signage at the time of licensure approval and existing pharmacies can order signs as needed via the e-Services portal.
See the new Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act – Bylaws that will come into effect on April 21, 2017.
Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act – BYLAWS, Section 1
“pharmacy security” means
“support person” has the same meaning as in the Act except that it does not include a pharmacy technician.
Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act – BYLAWS, Section 3(2)
Responsibilities of Pharmacy Managers, Owners and Directors
Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act – BYLAWS, Section 11.1
Community Pharmacy Security
(1) A community pharmacy must:
(2) When no full pharmacist is present and the premise is accessible to non-registrants,
(2.1) A community pharmacy that exists on the date this provision comes into force and is not renovated during the period must comply with section 11.1(2)(b) no later than three years after the date that provision comes into force;
(3) Subject to subsection (5), a community pharmacy must clearly display at all external entrances that identify the premises as a pharmacy, and at the dispensary counter signage provided by the College;
(4) The pharmacy manager and owners or directors of a community pharmacy that does not stock IA drugs must complete a declaration attesting that Schedule IA drugs are never stocked on the premises;
(5) A pharmacy that is never open to the public and has no external signage identifying it as a pharmacy is exempt from the requirements in subsection (3).