Pharmacies targeted by thieves looking for prescription meds

Bradenton HeraldFebruary 8, 2011 

MANATEE -- When a gunman robbed a Winn-Dixie store pharmacy at 7400 Cortez Road of oxycodone pills Monday morning, the crime was one more addition to a disturbing national statistic and trend.

Since 2003, there have been 6,184 crimes against 23,000 independent pharmacies in theUnited States, said Valerie Briggs, a spokeswoman with the National Community Pharmacists Association based in Alexandria, Va.

Briggs’ source for the statistics, which doesn’t include corporate pharmacies like Wal-Mart or unreported crimes, come from a database called RxPatrol that tracks such crimes.

RxPatrol is funded by Purdue Pharma L.P., the Stamford, Conn., maker of OxyContin, a painkiller so sought after by those addicted to it that they often commit brazen crimes to get it.

“They are going to the pharmacy for one thing, for prescription meds,” said Dave Bristow of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. “I believe most of these suspects are brazen. The crimes are often done in the middle of the day. This is a big problem all over the country now. People are hooked on these drugs.”

The Winn-Dixie robber approached the store pharmacy about 9:09 a.m. with a note demanding the painkillers, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

“When the clerk questioned if he was serious, the suspect displayed a handgun in his waistband,” the release states.

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