Independent Pharmacies Protecting You, Your Medications

Armen Hareyan's picture
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With a renewed national spotlight on prescription drug abuse, especially among teenagers, it is important to note as well the often over-looked issue of crimes against pharmacies. Despite the fact that robbing a pharmacy to obtain powerful pain killers and other controlled substances is a federal offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison, there are indications that all types of crimes in our nation's community pharmacies -- robberies, burglaries, fraud and other types of diversion -- are on the rise.

As a community pharmacist of over 25 years and the current president of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), I am pleased that NCPA along with our partners at Purdue Pharma L.P. and FBI LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) are working together to combat pharmacy crime. We have launched an initiative called Protect Your Pharmacy Now! in the month of April to encourage pharmacists across the country to take steps to ensure pharmacy safety and security.

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Part of the initiative includes Purdue Pharma's RxPATROL, a nationwide collaborative effort between the pharmaceutical industry and law enforcement agencies to collect, analyze, and share pharmacy crime information to better track criminals and bring them to justice. RxPATROL also works with Crime Stoppers to offer rewards to expedite the identification and apprehension of these suspects.

You can also help prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse each time you get your prescriptions filled. Destroy unused and out-of-date medications so that they don't get into the wrong hands. Don't share your medications or take someone else's. Keep medications out of the sight and reach of children. Avoid taking them in front of children, since they tend to mimic adults. Remember, prescription medicines are powerful and, when taken correctly, can improve health and save lives. But when misused, by mistake or on purpose, they can have dangerous and potentially deadly consequences.

Studies show that nearly three-quarter of adults do not always take their prescription medicine as directed. Many forget to take a medication, take less than the prescribed dosage, or stop taking it before the supply runs out. In more than half the cases, the patients made these decisions without talking to a health care professional. Experts estimate that this patient non-adherence costs the United States nearly $100 billion per year in extra medical costs, including hospital visits, doctor visits, lab tests, and nursing home admissions.

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