Substance abuse is on the rise in the United States.  As the government cracks down on pill mills and opiate prescriptions, pharmacies are increasingly becoming targets for criminals.  Protecting the pharmacists and pharmacy techs that work for your facility and keeping the customers that have chosen your business as their provider safe is crucial to the success of your location.  Fortunately, there are ways to ensure thieves choose a different location for their criminal acts.

Check Your State and Local Pharmacy Security Requirements

Access to controlled substances is strictly limited in the United States.  The first step to securing your pharmacy is to ensure your facility is meeting all governmental regulations, including those set by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The DEA requires pharmacies to have in place effective procedures to deter the theft of controlled substances, including proper and safe storage of the controlled substances.  Their provisions are very specific and provide specifications as to the construction of the storage device.   Those standards can be found here.  The state of Florida also has control regulations in place for pharmacies.  The state of Florida also has its own specific regulations that pharmacies must adhere to, including limiting access only to authorized personnel.

Keeping Your Pharmacy Secure

Pharmacies are targets for criminals not only for controlled substances, but also for cash grabs and private data.  Successful pharmacy security requires a combination of components.  Physical security like alarm systems, access control, and surveillance cameras provide ways to ensure controlled substances are guarded and only accessed by authorized personnel.  Proper employee screening, including background checks, and training will safeguard the pharmacy from employees who may want to utilize the pharmacy for ulterior motives.  It is also vital for the pharmacy to have a form of information security.  Health data is private information that your customers trust you have safely protected.  Make sure your safeguards include a secure computer system with safe software that is backed up regularly.

Visibility Is Key for Safeguarding Your Pharmacy

Theft deterrents are the first step to a pharmacy security system.  These are components like video cameras and signs alerting everyone that the premises is under surveillance.  By having cameras and signs visible, you are telling would be thieves that your location is a poor choice for their heist.  This creates a sense of risk that the thief may not have had prior to entering your premises as they realize the likelihood of their getting caught increases with video surveillance.  Preventing the criminal act in the first place protects your business and your employees from damage or harm.

Best Features for Pharmacy Security

In order to properly secure your pharmacy, your security system should include:

  • Access control systems which limit contact with controlled substances to authorized personnel only through the use of keycards or biometrics
  • Strategically placed video surveillance cameras that provide coverage of the entire pharmacy
  • Alarm systems that provide immediate notification to authorities of the emergency; and
  • Physical barriers locked doors, security gates, and security screens.


It is critical to the safety of your team, and for maintaining your license, to store valuable medications and patient information in a secure manner.  Utilizing a drug safe for controlled substances and medications not only acts as a theft deterrent, it also helps prevent thieves accessing customers’ private data.  Plus, federal and state regulations require it.  Those regulations are specific as to storage and need to be followed to the letter.

Eyes on Staff

Employers always do their best to ensure the employees they hire are the right fit, but even after extensive screening, you can never be truly sure of the people you hire.  From addictions to narcotics to money problems, it is not unheard of for employees to make poor choices in pharmacies.  Surveillance cameras are a great way to protect your pharmacy and its employees from all manner of theft and criminal acts.  This also means keeping an eye on staff.  Stealing is a crime, no matter how close you are to your employees.  Having the right surveillance system in place will alert all would be thieves, including your employees, to the risks should they try to steal any pharmacy material.

Upgrades Needed?

There is no more experienced or trusted company in the Tampa Bay area than A Total Solution for your pharmacy security needs.  They have been a trusted part of the community since 1988 providing superior customer service with top of the line products that cover the full spectrum of security needs for your pharmacy.  From access control to surveillance systems, ATS has the solutions for your pharmacy.  Contact us today to discuss current upgrades for your pharmacy security system!