NIOSH reports violence experienced by retail pharmacists

2/18/2009

ATLANTA The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Tuesday followed up its 2002 report on violence in the hospital setting with a new report focusing on another healthcare professional — the retail pharmacist. “We are finding that violence against pharmacists differs from violence experienced by other healthcare workers,” NIOSH stated in a blog posted Tuesday. “Increasingly, pharmacists face violence from robberies at their workplace. Across the United States, reports of pharmacy robberies specifically related to the theft of Oxycontin and Vicodin have been reported.”

NIOSH noted the difficulty in measuring the magnitude of workplace violence in the retail pharmacy setting because a comprehensive nationwide database of pharmacy robberies does not exist. To that end,  NIOSH is partnering with the Statistical Analysis Center to collect information from police departments to provide NIOSH with the data necessary for a study of homicides, robberies and assaults (simple, aggravated and sexual) of healthcare workers, especially pharmacists. NIOSH successfully partnered with several Statistical Analysis Centers in the late 1990s for a data collection effort related to workplace violence and robberies in convenience stores.

The goal of the current effort is to determine the frequencies and rates of homicides and injuries associated with robberies and assaults occurring in healthcare and pharmaceutical work environments and to assess the risk factors and circumstances surrounding these violent events. This information will assist NIOSH in developing prevention recommendations to protect pharmacists and other healthcare workers.

“As we continue our research, we are interested in learning what prevention strategies pharmacists have found useful in dealing with violence in the workplace,” NIOSH stated.

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