Information and Suggestions for California Pharmacies Damaged by Rioting, Looting, Vandalism, Fire, etc.

The Law Offices of Brown & Brown wants our clients and friends to remain safe during this concerning time, and as a service to the community, we wish to keep you updated with California Board of Pharmacy news and information relevant to recent events.

The California Pharmacy Board is aware that various pharmacies throughout California were recently damaged/vandalized/looted/set afire due to rioting as a result of the tragic George Floyd incident in Minnesota last week.  For pharmacy owners with questions as to what to do if your pharmacy was a damaged, call the Board’s inspectors at 916-518-3100 or email ask.inspector@dca.ca.gov.  Include all your relevant details in your email so the Board may contact you.

The Board is making some additional recommendations to pharmacies which were damaged in the rioting/looting, including:

  • 1. Consider boarding up the location to minimize damage and prevent drug losses.
  • 2. Do not open your business until it is absolutely safe to do so.  If the area of your pharmacy is not yet peaceful, keep the pharmacy closed.
  • 3. When safe to enter the pharmacy, notify the Board of any damage or losses to inventory immediately.  
  • 4. When and only when safe to do so, any drugs, pharmacy records and PCs containing confidential patient info still in the pharmacy should be secured.
  • 5. Take an immediately inventory of all dangerous drugs to determine whether any losses occurred.
  • 6. If you cannot secure drugs/records/computers in the pharmacy, Business & Professions Code section 4126 states:        
    • Transferring and/or storing the drugs to/with a wholesaler from which the dangerous drugs were acquired
    • Transferring the drugs to a reverse distributor
    • Transferring the drugs to another pharmacy under common control
    • Storing the drugs at a Board-licensed location: Examples: another pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, clinic, wholesaler, or third-party logistics provider.

Regarding prescription refills, damaged pharmacies should notify patients as to how to otherwise have their prescriptions refilled, including suggesting they:        

  • Contact another pharmacy if that pharmacy shares a common electronic file (Common for big chain stores)
  • Advise patient to contact prescriber to obtain a new Rx to fill at another pharmacy
  • Another pharmacy may dispense a reasonable quantity of a dangerous drug or device if, in good faith, and without a prescription, there is a federal, state or local emergency to further the health and safety of the public
  • Another pharmacist may contact the prescriber to receive verbal or electronic prescription authorization

How to handle adulterated drugs, especially with regard to current rioting/looting situation

Adulterated drugs are defined by Health & Safety Code section 111255 as: any drug or device…[which] has been produced, prepared, packed or held under conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.  Generally, if a pharmacist has a reasonable belief that a drug has been subjected to extreme temperatures, humidity, tampering, unauthorized handling, etc. the drug should be considered adulterated and quarantined for proper disposal using a licensed wholesaler acting as a reverse distributor.

Access to Drugs by Unauthorized Individuals

In the situation of drugs accessed by unauthorized individuals, such as rioters/looters/burglars, pay attention to any drugs not in sealed, original manufacturer’s containers.  If those drugs in unsealed containers are considered adulterated due to unauthorized individual contact or any other suspicious circumstance, they should be quarantined for proper disposal as suggested above.

Destroying Adulterated Drugs/Reporting Crimes

Before destroying any adulterated drugs, check with the local law enforcement, the DEA and your business insurer to determine whether any drugs may need to be preserved as evidence of criminal activity.  

Remember to report all crimes to law enforcement and save any video evidence for these agencies, as well.

Reporting Controlled Substance Losses

Pharmacies must report all losses of controlled substances to the Board and the DEA.  The DEA requires such report(s) occur within 1 business day of the theft using DEA Form 106.  The California Board of Pharmacy requires reports of all losses of controls within 30 days and a form for doing so may be found on the Board’s website.

Utilizing a Temporary Pharmacy Location

If your current pharmacy location is unsafe for operations and you plan to continue to fill prescriptions at a temporary location while the new location is under construction, contact the Board at 916-518-3100 to speak with the deputy inspector or email ask.inspector@dca.ca.gov.

Discontinuing/Closing the Pharmacy

If you plan to close the pharmacy, California Code of Regulations, Title 16, section 1708.2 requires you to complete the discontinuance of business form from the Board’s website www.pharmacy.ca.gov.  Remember that all drugs must be inventoried and all records or acquisition/disposition and dangerous drugs must be moved to a Board-licensed location.

Attorney Disclaimer

This blog is meant to provide information on current news and general information. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is any attorney-client relationship established by its posting on this website. If you are facing a situation that involves your professional license, consult with a licensed attorney.

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Adam B Brown Author

About Adam Brown

Mr. Brown joined the firm of Brown & Brown after receiving his Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California. He is also a graduate of the University of California at Irvine, where he received his B.A. degree in English.