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Pharmacy Security Safes & Vaults

For productivity, efficiency, patient safety and staff security, pharmacy safety is the first priority. And security matters for compliance with DEA regulation too. Safety violations in pharmacies are frequently in the headlines for large fines related to painkillers. Here’s more information direct from the DEA and Dept. of Justice.Security compliance is more important for pharmacies than ever before. 

For medical practitioners working with controlled substances, security is critical for good patient care. The CSA (Controlled Substances Act) puts drugs and other substances into one of five categories or schedules of control  with Schedule I requiring the most security at your pharmacy and Schedule V the least. Secure, safe storage is required for all schedules of substances.

The new Safe Prescribing Act of 2013 impacts drug storage, requiring all pharmacies to use a DEA-approved safe for hydrocodone-based painkillers. Under this act, hydrocodone will become a Schedule II substance, requiring your pharmacy to store these substances in a security-rated safe.

Pharmacies are required to store their Schedule I and II controlled substances in a Class 5 narcotics storage safe. This DEA-approved safe should weigh over 750 pounds or lower weight TL-rated safes should be securely fastened to a wall or floor, and may need to be linked to an alarm system. Our Class 5 safes include dual combination modes and can withstand 10 minutes of a brute force attack.

Federal regulations don’t specifically define the construction requirements for security cabinets. But the intent of the law is that controlled substances must be adequately safeguarded. Some factors considered when the DEA evaluates a pharmacy’s controlled substance security include:

  • how many employees, customers or patients have access to the substances
  • the location
  • use of an effective alarm system
  • quantity of controlled substances kept on hand
  • prior history of theft or loss

The DEA will use these and other indicators to evaluate secure storage. Bottom line: controlled substances must be stored in a securely locked cabinet of substantial construction.

Plus, the area where the substance is stored should only be accessible to a minimum of authorized employees. Should a non-authorized person pass through the area, like maintenance staff or a business guest, adequate written observation of the area must be made by an authorized employee.

  • To minimize the threat of theft, loss or diversion, practitioners need to provide not only physical security. It’s also important to implement procedures to keep unauthorized people out and provide an alarm system where necessary. These procedures include:
  • not employing an individual who has had his or her application for registration with the DEA denied or revoked at any time
  • notifying the nearest DEA Field Office upon discovery of loss or theft

storing blank prescription forms, as well as DEA order forms, in secure locations to minimize risk of theft

The potential threat of robbery, burglary and internal theft is a true concern for many pharmacies. To combat this threat, many have safety precautions in place, like surveillance and alarm systems. A security safe adds another level of protection. By securing your pharmacy’s medications, the risk of criminal activity – and the risk of costly violations -- is greatly decreased.


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NarcoticsSafes.com, A Division of K.L. Security Enterprises, Inc.

928 Robinson Street

West Lafayette, IN 47906. USA

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