WASHINGTON, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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, can be effective in helping pharmacy technicians and team members 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).
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General recently released best practices for achieving safe operating environments in pharmacies. The recommendations encourage implementation of guidelines for general security, inventory, customer interface, and theft reporting. According to the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy's website, the guidelines are the result of collaboration among the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy, and representatives of community pharmacy, law enforcement, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy educational institutions, and state pharmacy associations.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) advocates a single national standard for pharmacy technician certification that is recognized and supported by the profession. The goal of PTCB's national certification program, which services the more than 271,000 currently active CPhTs nationwide, is to enable pharmacy technicians to work more effectively with pharmacists to offer safe and effective patient care and service. PTCB was established in 1995 and is governed by five pharmacy organizations—the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians may apply for certification online at www.ptcb.org.
SOURCE Pharmacy Technician Certification Board