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Protect your pharmacy team members and patients

April 28, 2021
Installation of time-delayed narcotics safes can help prevent pharmacy robberies.

Pharmacy robberies continue to be an issue that threatens the safety of pharmacy team members and the public. As of April 20, 2021, there have been 25 pharmacy robberies in Edmonton this year alone, which is more than the total number of robberies in Edmonton in 2019 and 2020 combined. Calgary has also seen a significant number of pharmacy robberies since the fall of 2020. Many of these involve weapons, threats of violence, and, in some cases, pharmacy team members being tied up.

Based on recent discussions with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), Calgary Police Service (CPS), and RCMP, installation of time-delayed narcotics safes with accompanying signage at the pharmacy entrance and dispensary has been highly successful in preventing robberies.

Safeway pharmacies have used time-delayed safes for the last 10 years and Sobeys pharmacies began using them shortly after their acquisition of Safeway. Rexall and London Drugs will also be installing time-delayed safes in all of their pharmacies.

As more pharmacies install time-delayed safes, other pharmacies should consider doing the same to help protect pharmacy team members and the public. While time-delayed safes can contribute to the safety and security of pharmacies, pharmacy teams should consider additional complementary measures including alarm systems, surveillance cameras, locking doors, and having up-to-date policies and procedures in the event of a robbery or burglary.

For more information on how to prevent robberies and burglaries, what to do during and after an incident, and how to voluntarily report a robbery or burglary, visit the Pharmacy robbery and burglary page on the ACP website. Pharmacy teams are encouraged to use our online tool to report robberies and burglaries to ACP on a voluntary basis. This will allow ACP to securely share information with your colleagues that could help them prevent future events. The information collected may help the college with future policy decisions.