Ways to Prevent and Protect Your Pharmacy from Internal Theft!
In Volusia County, Florida a newly hired pharmacy tech was arrested for stealing more than a dozen bottles of prescription drugs. This is the second drug arrest in three weeks, with the first arrest made on May 25, 2018.
Last January 12, 2018, a Houston man was convicted by a Fort Bend County jury of felony misapplication of fiduciary property. Jorge Alberto Perez was caught stealing from the pharmacy when an internal audit showed a shortage of prescription drugs in the period of 2009 to 2010.
These cases of theft cost pharmacies major losses. In 2011, the cases of employee theft total an average of $996.
But with the outrageous prices of prescription drugs and the lure of controlled substances, pharmacy theft is a potential risk in a pharmaceutical business.
Pharmacy personal steal because of:
- Personal use or personal gain
- High-street values of some control prescription substances
- Opportunities due to a pharmacy’s lack of understanding about drug diversion and prevention practices
According to a study conducted by the Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy, approximately 10% of pharmacists become chemically impaired at some point in their career.
A survey conducted by the University of Georgia also showed that:
- 40% of the pharmacists take regulated prescription substance without a prescription.
- 20% admitted to repeated use.
These numbers show that the issue of internal theft should be addressed once and for all. It is the best way to prevent business loss and ensure theft doesn't go unchecked.
How to Prevent Pharmacy Internal Theft
Vet employees thoroughly
Didn't they say that prevention is better than cure? Before you take anyone on board, it is important to conduct thorough reference and background checks. Due to lack of prosecution, embezzlers and thieves often move from one practice to the next. Don't be the next victim.
Treat your staff well
They will think twice about stealing from you if they have competitive salaries, benefits, and other perks. Combine that with consistent coaching and feedback and your staff would feel as much a part and accountable with your pharmacy as you are.
Implement accounting controls
Financial transactions should be carried out by trusted individuals.
Different people should handle different financial transactions—review of electronic transfers, prepare checks, sign checks, and regular EHR reconciliation.
In addition, appoint partners to conduct periodic spot checks and hire an independent accountant to review the financial records of your pharmacy.
Implement point-of-sale (POS) solutions
- All POS systems today have a biometric fingerprint that helps ensure employees don't steal or share passwords. Through the use of a fingerprint sensor to access the system and run the register, you can beef up security and trace theft easily.
- Limit the discounted amounts that a cashier can give at a register. A robust POS system will allow you to pre-program amount limits.
- Better cash management, what with a full-featured POS solution equipped with tools that help manage cashier activities, allow an additional level of employee auditing, and thorough reporting.
- Automatic discounting can be pre-programmed for certain groups of customers, such as loyal customers, senior citizens, and employees. Since the machine, automatically give discounts, the discounting decisions are taken off the hands of cashiers, some of which may struggle to give the correct change or identify whether a customer is due a discount or not.
This is one way to ensure that there is no conflict of interest to your practice. Thieves and embezzlers are capable of many things, including fabricating vendors. So make sure that you verified vendors and run a thorough check.
Theft of any kind is often a combination of motive and opportunity. So make sure that your pharmacy leaves no opportunity for employees to steal from you. Set up the security measures listed above to deter and prevent internal theft.