A Gold Coast pharmacist had to wait nearly 20 minutes for police to arrive after a man attempted to rob his pharmacy of its controlled drugs
Amin Javanmard, who owns the Broadwater Pharmacy at Biggera Waters, is calling for better protection for pharmacists and faster police response times following the robbery earlier this month.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that a man holding a hammer went into the pharmacy, wearing socks over his hands and underpants over his face, at just after 7pm on a Monday night.
The man demanded Mr Javanmard hand over all his S8 drugs, but Mr Javanmard refused and told the robber that he had pressed the panic button.
Mr Javanmard had no option but to watch the man walk away. He called the police, but they took 18 minutes to respond – which was unusually fast, he says. By then, the man had disappeared up the street, walking with a distinctive limping gait.
“The guy just walked away, despite the fact that there’s supposedly five or six thousand police officers on the Gold Coast, which represents half the Queensland Police Service,” Mr Javanmard told the AJP.
“The Games Baton had passed a block away from us only that morning.
“Eigtheen minutes is quick. Normally it can be the next day, especially when responding to incidents where we’ve had abusive patients, or violent patients. It’s normal for us to try and call the local police station for help with a threatening or violent patient and be on hold for 30 minutes before someone even answers.
“I read about robberies all the time in the AJP and I’m absolutely agog that people are able to call up their local station and have the police appear in 10 minutes or less.
“Here, we call 000 and it’s almost 20 minutes – during a major event!”
Mr Javanmard campaigned as a Greens candidate in the Queensland state election in 2017, and one of his key platforms was to improve police response on the Gold Coast.
Queensland has protections in place to improve safety for first responders and health professionals – but not pharmacists.
“We’re excluded from that, probably because we’re viewed as retailers and not as health professionals,” Mr Javanmard told the AJP. “And we don’t help ourselves with the way pharmacy promotes itself, especially on the Gold Coast.”
He warns that pharmacists are likely to face more crime in the future.
“Now that things like real time monitoring are being proposed, and e-health is there, we’re no longer ignorant to the possibility of things like doctor shopping or pharmacy shopping – having patients going to multiple pharmacies and stockpiling,” he says.
“So we’re being given all this information, and we’ve got a professional duty to dispense legally and safely. But we effectively have to put ourselves in danger to uphold this.
“It’s very indicative of the lack of respect that’s given to pharmacists in our line of work.”
It’s not the first time Mr Javanmard has been robbed. The previous time was in January 2015, when he was campaigning as an independent – again on a policing and community safety platform.
“Nothing ever changes,” he says.