Culture plays key role in pharmacy security

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Culture plays key role in pharmacy security

By David Salazar - 07/06/2017

With the FBI estimating that U.S. robberies have caused $390 million in losses in 2015, one of the most important steps independent pharmacists can take for their businesses and customers is security. Thinking a pharmacy is immune from theft or robbery is one of the biggest misconceptions Cardinal Health’s Director of Security Jason Blumenauer, said — and he also notes that ensuring a secure pharmacy doesn’t have to break the bank.

“There are a lot of things that you can do that don't cost a lot of money to make sure you have a safe and productive environment within the pharmacy,” Blumenauer told Drug Store News, adding that owners should prioritize getting a security system as a vital step toward having a safe pharmacy.

But besides the security system, Blumenauer said that creating deterrents can work to a pharmacy’s advantage — from efforts as simple as placing measuring tape in the pharmacy entrance’s door seal to signage indicating that the pharmacy has a security camera. But he emphasized that any deterrents should be backed up by real measures.

“People think putting a fake dome up is going to deter crime, but it's actually the opposite,” he said, noting that potential robbers can tell whether a dome has wires connected to it, and that fake cameras create a liability problem. “If something were to happen in the store, and the police come and ask for the video, you’ve created a sense of false security for your customers and your staff, and sometimes that can backfire on you quickly and create major issues.”

A secure pharmacy, according to Blumenauer, goes beyond simply installing cameras or even having a state-of-the-art alarm system. In addition to pharmacy owners knowing their businesses’ footprint and the areas that a thief might exploit, it also requires getting staff involved. He said that such measures as ensuring that there is adequate staffing, making sure staff members are visible and monitoring areas of high risk should be part of a larger effort to train pharmacy team members to be on the look out for potential incidents.

More than that, security is something Blumenauer said should be an integral part of the pharmacy’s culture — which he acknowledged can be a challenge, as many business models don’t include security. But taking the time to plan a policy and share it with employees can be beneficial in the long-term, he said.

“Security itself is something you can't purchase. You can buy the most expensive system out there, and if you don't have a culture at the pharmacy that understands how to use that security and manage it, it's worthless,” he said. “Building a program that's utilized by everyone who works at the pharmacy is probably the most important thing you look for in a truly secured pharmacy.”

Staff from the Cardinal Health Security Solutions Program, with whom attendees can discuss securing their pharmacies, will be on hand on the show floor at Cardinal Health RBC 2017. There also are two continuing education courses centered on pharmacy security planned for Cardinal Health RBC 2017:

  • July 26 - “Women in Pharmacy — security, risk and the law”

  • July 29 - “Pharmacy Security: Are you really prepared for the what if?”

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