Washington State Pharmacies, Feds Join to Fight Rx Robberies-July 2009

Pharmacies are fighting back. Representatives from 4 drugstore chains met earlier this month with officials from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the US Attorney’s office in Seattle, and the Seattle Police Department to determine ways to thwart the pharmacy robberies that have become prevalent in Washington State.

Although the threat of robbery is an unfortunate reality for pharmacies throughout the country, Washington State has seen a particularly high number in recent years. The number skyrocketed a few years back and has not decreased, with 3 night break-in pharmacy burglaries in the state in 2002 spiking up to 48 in 2005, the highest number in the nation, according to the DEA.

As the pharmacy crime spree continues in the region, representatives from Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, and Bartell Drugs have shown that they do not plan to take the losses lying down. After meeting with law enforcement officials, the pharmacy chains reportedly expressed willingness to alter their ordering patterns to decrease on-hand stock of certain pain medications, including OxyContin, DEA officials stated. Reports also stated that police advised the chains to ramp up what was deemed poor surveillance.

Another example of pharmacy groups teaming up with law enforcement in the war against crime is RxPATROL (Pattern Analysis Tracking Robberies and Other Losses), an information clearinghouse developed by Purdue Pharma. The initiative collects, collates, analyzes, and disseminates pharmacy theft information to law enforcement officials nationwide, thereby protecting against potential robberies and helping police to nab criminals.

For other articles in this issue, see: