RxPATROL Provides Resources for Crime Readiness on the Front Lines
WASHINGTON, DC – Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists every day, and are often the team members who interact first with patients and customers. Located on the front lines of a pharmacy, technicians are likely to encounter a pharmacy theft or crime situation before anyone else on the pharmacy team. Response to a crisis requires a team effort, and pharmacy technicians can take the lead to create action plans and promote safe environments in their workplaces. To prepare for pharmacy crime situations, technicians benefit from working with pharmacy managers, understanding their own roles in crisis response, making sure their pharmacy’s safety plan is clearly communicated to the pharmacy team, and connecting with local law enforcement agencies to develop procedures.
“Considering the prominent positions of pharmacy technicians on the front lines of pharmacies, PTCB recognizes the critical importance of preparation and training for the possible incident of a robbery,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO Everett McAllister, MPA, RPh. “Communication and collaboration among pharmacists and technicians are the keys to maintaining safety in the pharmacy.”
Armed robberies at pharmacies rose 81% between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the number of stolen pills jumped from 706,000 to 1.3 million. Given these rising numbers, PTCB believes pharmacy technicians need to feel prepared to keep their patients, their colleagues, and themselves safe.
The online resource, RxPATROL (www.rxpatrol.com), features pharmacy security tools, including a pharmacy safety checklist and pharmacy training videos on safety, security, robbery, and fraud. RxPATROL’s online database, containing at least 7,703 incidents, including 2,816 robberies, is a clearinghouse for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating pharmacy theft information to law enforcement agencies to protect pharmacies. After registering at www.rxpatrol.com, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists can submit online crime reports, and thereby help prevent recurrences. RxPATROL updates pharmacy teams via Twitter (at Twitter.com/rxpatrol) with instant crime alerts, exact locations of crimes, and descriptions of suspects. In a comment posted on Facebook, a CPhT said, “I used RxPATROL after we were robbed, and the information we entered about our robbery helped catch the criminal after he had committed a robbery in another state. It was a very useful tool.”
PTCB believes the use of training tools and crisis procedures like the “REACT” plan (standing for “Remain calm, be an Eye witness, activate Alarm, Call police, and Take charge after the robbery”), created by the National Community Pharmacists Association, are effective ways for pharmacy technicians and team members to be prepared for possible thefts. Pharmacy technicians can also provide anonymous tips about pharmacy incidents by calling 1-888-4Rx-Tips (1-888-479-8477).
New Jersey recently launched new security tools for pharmacies. Pharmacy Security Best Practices, released May 1 by the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy, features guidelines for general security, inventory, customer interface, and theft reporting. According to the New Jersey Board’s website, the guidelines are the result of collaboration among the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the New Jersey Board, and representatives of community pharmacy, law enforcement, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy educational institutions, and state pharmacy associations.