A quarter of Irish pharmacies have experienced violent crime in the past year according to a new study.
The survey, carried out on behalf of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), found that 75% of pharmacies have experienced some form of crime in the past 21 months – the majority of them on multiple occasions.
IPU President Daragh Connolly said the level of violence facing many pharmacists is a “particular concern.”
“Pharmacists nationwide are being threatened with knives, syringes and even guns,” he said.
“This is a terrifying ordeal for any staff or patients who have the misfortune to witness a violent raid.”
He called for Gardaí to be given the resources to tackle the issue in a meaningful way.
“Shoplifting continues to be the most prevalent crime against pharmacies.
“Fake tan is the single most commonly stolen item (50%) along with other cosmetics and perfume.
“Meanwhile, almost a quarter of pharmacies have had cash taken.
“What is undoubtedly the most sinister and concerning crime example is the high level of thefts of medicines - 17% of pharmacies have had controlled or prescribed drugs stolen in the past year.”
He said the number of pharmacies that reported the crimes to Gardai dropped by 5% to 68% last year – with a third saying they had a lack of faith that the criminal would be charged.
He said the best way to tackle the issue is to increase the Garda presence in communities.
“96% of pharmacists feel that increasing the visibility would have a very positive impact on reducing crime,” he said.
“This would benefit pharmacies, but of course entire communities as well.”