Renewed call for pharmacy protections after violent Elwood robbery

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- In light of Wednesday’s violent pharmacy robbery in Elwood, some state lawmakers are renewing their calls to get better protections put in place for pharmacists and pharmacy workers.

Some say a new proposal making its way through the state legislature is what is needed. House Bill 1377 would require pharmacies to install time-delay safes, bolt those safes to the floor and install emergency call buttons in order to alert police.

“The two options are catch them after the fact and punish them, which will never end the problem, or try to reduce the incidents by having safety measures” Rep. Ed Delaney (D-86),a long-time proponent of bills focusing on worker protections, is supporting HB 1377.

“This is a bill aimed at addressing the very real problem of holdups at pharmacies to get drugs,” said Delaney.

The Drug Enforcement Agency tracks all pharmacy robberies where controlled substances are stolen. According to the DEA, there were 78 of those incidents in 2014. That number jumped to 168 in 2015, but then fell to 77 in 2016. Keep in mind, those don’t reflect attempted robberies where no medication was stolen.

Many chain drug stores like Walgreens and CVS have already begun using time-delay safes, but it’s the smaller “mom and pop” type shops that Delaney really worries about.

“I hope the legislature will see there’s a broad generic problem that we can address by imposing more safety requirements,” said Delaney.

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