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Pharmacies Need Your Security Prescription

A new report filed by CNN indicates the nation's pharmacies are subject of widespread rising thefts and robberies. This story got me fired up thinking about the solutions the security industry could offer these businesses and the associated opportunities for installing contractors and monitoring providers.

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A new report filed by CNN indicates the nation’s pharmacies are subject of widespread rising thefts and robberies. Featuring a headline of “Addicts putting pharmacies under siege,” the piece credited to Patrick Oppmann says pharmacy robberies are on the rise nationwide, according to a tracking ground called RXPatrol. In addition, Washington state has seen a rash of drugstore robberies in recent years exceeding the value lost in bank robberies. This story got me fired up thinking about the solutions the security industry could offer these businesses and the associated opportunities for installing contractors and monitoring providers.

Here are some other highlights I pulled from this report:

Unlike banks, most pharmacies do not have the high-tech security or armed guards to prevent robberies. “They want to be known as the neighborhood pharmacy where you know your pharmacist,” Conklin [Capt. Rich Conklin, Stamford, N.J., PD]. “They don’t want to have to buzz customers in or talk to them through bulletproof glass.”

For many robbers, holding up pharmacies has also become a lucrative business. OxyContin, the popular painkiller, can be stolen and resold for a dollar a milligram, said Detective Mike Magan of the Seattle Police Department. A bottle of 60 80-milligram pills could bring in close to $5,000. Factoring in the money made reselling the drugs, Magan said, pharmacy thieves in Seattle are stealing as much as bank robbers. “Some of the bank robbers have now actually stopped robbing banks and cut out the middle men and gone directly to the source,” he said. “And that’s robbing the pharmacy.”

Magan said hunting down the robbers is complicated by the fact that many pharmacies do not have sophisticated cameras placed where they can photograph the robbers’ faces. “They are easy targets,” he said. “There needs to be some of kind of standardization: ... better counters, the drugs more secured. Some of the pharmacies have taken substantial steps in doing that, and it’s deterred robberies.”

Usually, there was no violence involved as [former drug thief James] Fogle and his crew drilled holes into the roofs of drugstores late at night or, when a pharmacist’s back was turned, they grabbed what pills they could and ran. “They put in a lot of alarms, but eventually, people figure out a way to beat them alarms,” said Fogle, 74.

Think of all the great intrusion, access control and video solutions and services you could provide to these prospects! And I don’t know about you but to me it seems like there have never been more pharmacies at corners, in strip malls, inside large retailers, etc. (probably a sign of our overreliance on chemical remedies but that is a topic for another time!). That means a HUGE market with BIG needs and TREMENDOUS opportunity. Go for it; I want to see your company mentioned in CNN’s follow-up report.

You can access the full CNN story and video here.

Scott Goldfine

Article Topics
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About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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