Protect Your Pharmacy Now Initiative Begins Second Year

April 01, 2009

(As appeared in Pharmacy Times by Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO)

NCPA has received positive feedback from its members since last April's launch of our pharmacy crime prevention initiative ? Protect Your Pharmacy Now! ? and its comprehensive safety and security toolkit. The third week of April (4/13 - 4/17) is again designated as Protect Your Pharmacy Week, which shines a spotlight on our efforts. This year we are also unveiling a new initiative called the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! Prescription Drug Disposal Program, which helps pharmacies provide environmentally-friendly ways for patients to dispose of unused and expired medications.

To understand why NCPA felt these measures were necessary you have to start from the beginning. Back in the mid-1970's we began lobbying the federal government to classify pharmacy robberies as a federal crime. Those efforts finally paid off in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation making these offenses punishable by up to 20 years in jail. However, in the ensuing years pharmacies have continued to be targeted for controlled substances.

In 2003, NCPA partnered with National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), FBI LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association), and others to develop RxPATROL® (Pattern Analysis Tracking Robberies and Other Losses), the only database of its kind to collect, analyze and disseminate pharmacy theft information to law enforcement agencies. In 2008, with a renewed national spotlight on prescription drug abuse, NCPA and its partners developed the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative to encourage pharmacists in all practice settings to take steps to protect staff and patients from pharmacy crime, including prescription drug theft.

NCPA members have access to a free online toolkit including exclusive discounts for surveillance equipment and other products designed to improve store security; security training videos that should be required viewing for anyone who works at a pharmacy; and downloadable marketing tools to advertise your participation in this program.

In March of last year, an Associated Press investigation found a disturbing number of pharmaceuticals detected in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan areas affecting 41 million Americans. Meanwhile, teens are secretly raiding their home medicine cabinets for recreational use that can mushroom into full-fledge addiction. NCPA is tackling these twin concerns through our Protect Your Pharmacy Now! Prescription Drug Disposal Program toolkit which includes a planning guide; ad templates for local print advertising; counter card template to distribute to patients; press releases to distribute to local media to announce the program, letters to the editor to further explain the civic role you are taking in helping the community; and a list of potential reverse-distributor partners to create you own program, including some programs that convert pharmaceutical waste into energy.

NCPA wants you to be aware of our efforts to keep you, your staff and your community safe. NCPA intends to continue this effort, in collaboration with our partners to bring useful information to you so that you may continue to protect your pharmacy. If you are not a member call 1-800-544-8447 to ask for membership or log onto www.ncpanet.org to click on the "Join NCPA" icon.

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