OCP Board to discuss mandating time-delayed safes to deter pharmacy robberies

Posted:Nov 25th, 2022
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Recognizing the alarming rise in reports of pharmacy robberies across Ontario, the Ontario College of Pharmacists’ Board of Directors will be discussing the use of mandatory time-delayed safes in all community pharmacies at its December 12 meeting. The universal implementation of time-delayed safes has proven to be an effective deterrent to pharmacy robberies in other Canadian and American jurisdictions, and the Board will be considering whether a regulatory mandate is in the public interest.

Pharmacy robberies can have a serious impact on the physical and mental well-being of pharmacy staff and patients and can lead to reduced access to pharmacy care for patients whose pharmacies have been directly affected. Additionally, it is believed that prescription medications obtained through pharmacy robberies are a contributor to the illicit opioid drug supply in Ontario communities.

The College has been working closely with law enforcement stakeholders such as the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) to identify and implement practical crime prevention strategies and there is growing interest in the use of time-delayed safes as part of this broader focus.

“The prevention of often violent robberies in Ontario pharmacies, and the effect of such crime on those who work in pharmacies and the patients who need safe access, is a concern across the pharmacy sector,” says Shenda Tanchak, Registrar and CEO. “We are working with our crime prevention and pharmacy partners, including the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA), to identify how we can best ensure a safer environment for all. This includes consideration of the value of time-delayed safes given their demonstrated effectiveness in reducing crime in other provinces.”

A briefing note with further information will be posted on the College website at least one week before the December 12 meeting.