Article from Pharmacy Times.
Consumers sometimes report to Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) that their pharmacy dispensed fewer tablets or capsules than prescribed when filling their prescriptions. Many of the complaints involve opioids. When reporting the shortfall, consumers report that pharmacists often suspect that patients or someone in their home removed some tablets for themselves or to sell. Patients tend to say the same about the pharmacy staff.
In truth, although not the only problem, prescription drug-abusing adults and students, including middle-school and high-school students, do sometimes obtain drugs from a family member’s medicine cabinet. At the same time, research shows that diversion through “shorting” (undercounting) and pilferage by pharmacists and pharmacy staff also takes place.1 For example, an April 2016 story in The Columbus Dispatch described multiple examples of diversion in various settings, including community pharmacies.2 In one example, a pharmacy technician in a community pharmacy regularly dropped vials of oxyCODONE on the floor at the point of sale and would keep a few tablets for herself when she bent down to pick up a vial.